DEFENSE: New Birds for SAC

With scarcely more ceremony than a shuffle of papers, the Air Force's Research and Development Command this week turned over the first operational Atlas-D intercontinental ballistic missiles to the 482 officers and men of the Strategic Air Command's 576th Missile Squadron at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

On each of the three completed pads forming the base's Launch Complex 65-1, a twelve-story-high missile nestled in its gantry. Two more of the 200-ton silvery rockets, painted for the first time with the SAC insignia, lay in reserve, their H-bomb war heads stored near by, ready for installation in brief minutes. After five...

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