31 October 56 The Chief of Research and Development Department of the Army (DA), requested that the Ordnance Corps conduct a feasibility study of a ballistic missile with a required range of 500 nautical miles and a minimum range of 750 nautical miles.

14 November 56 The Ordnance Corps forwarded the request for a medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) study to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) thus generating the basic requirement for the system to be known as the PERSHING I missile.

7 January 58 The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended and the Secretary of Defense approved the authorization for the Army to proceed with development of a solid-propellant missile to replace the REDSTONE. This approved replacement was known at ABMA as the REDSTONE-S (solid).

16 January 58 The Department of Defense (DOD) announced that the new solid-propellant missile had been named the PERSHING in honor of General of the Armies of the United States John J. (Black Jack) Pershing, famed commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.

19 February 58 The Secretary of the Army assigned responsibility for the overall direction of the PERSHING I missile development program to the Army Ballistic Missiles Committee. At the same time, he gave responsibility for systems management and engineering of the PERSHING I development to ABMA.

28 March 58 The Martin Company of Orlando, Florida, was awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF) letter contract for research, development, and initial production of the PERSHING I system under the technical supervision and concept control of the Government.

10 April 58 The Ordnance Technical Committee approved the establishment of the PERSHING Project with a IA priority.

9 October 58 The Ordnance Technical Committee formally approved military characteristics for the PERSHING I missile system.

18 April 59 ABMA accepted the first PERSHING I missile from the research and development contract definitized with Martin on 25 June 58.

25 February 60 First PERSHING I launch was conducted.

November 60 The U.S. Army Artillery and Missile School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, was designated as the proponent agency in the preparation of Army training programs for the PERSHING I system.

October 61 The Martin Company was consolidated with the American Marietta Company, forming the Martin Marietta Corporation.

October 61 The Martin Marietta Corporation received the first production contract for PERSHING I tactical missiles and ground support equipment.

June 62 The first battery of the first U.S. Army PERSHING I tactical missile battalion-the 2d Missile Battalion, 44th Artillery-was activated.

1 August 62 The PERSHING I became one of the original items placed under project management by the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC).

31 October 62 Martin Marietta delivered the first tactical Ordnance and Artillery ground support equipment sets for the PERSHING I.

December 62 The PERSHING I’s readiness date was met when the first tactical missile (Missile 505) was delivered. It later became the first PERSHING I service test missile fired in April 63.

February 63 The PERSHING I modification program began.

September 63 Germany formally accepted a Military Assistance Program (MAP) offer for a joint maintenance float and support services for the PERSHING I.

January 64 The Secretary of Defense assigned the PERSHING I weapon system to a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role after a DOD study showed that the PERSHING I would be superior to tactical aircraft for the QRA mission.

March 64 The first German PERSHING I wing began unit training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

June 64 The first U.S. PERSHING I unit to be deployed overseas-the 4th Missile Battalion, 41st Artillery-became operational.

25 June 64 The REDSTONE missile, which the PERSHING I replaced, was classified obsolete.

4 December 64 The Secretary of Defense requested that the Army define the modifications required to make the PERSHING I suitable for the QRA role. This directive initiated the PERSHING la program.

24 May 65 The Secretary of Defense approved the PERSHING la development program.

28 March 67 The PERSHING I accomplished a significant first when B Battery, 3d Battalion, 84th Artillery, which was deployed to Germany, successfully launched two missiles simultaneously and a third missile 30 minutes later from Blanding, Utah, into White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).

August 67 Martin Marietta received the production contract for the PERSHING la.

31 July 68 AMC granted authority for limited release of PERSHING la equipment designated for continental United States (CONUS) deployment.

May 69 The first PERSHING la CONUS battalion-the 2d Battalion, 44th Artillery-received its equipment. This battalion’s main mission was training.

September 69 The conversion from PERSHING I to PERSHING la for the first U.S. European battalion–the 4th Battalion, 41st Artillery–was completed. This initiated Project SWAP, a program for replacing PERSHING I equipment deployed to Europe with PERSHING la equipment.

22 January 70 Germany officially accepted the SWAP program.

18 March 70 Project SWAP was completed ahead of schedule.

July 70 Deliveries of PERSHING la equipment for Army requirements were completed.

7 March 74 The Deputy Secretary of Defense authorized the Army to proceed with the advanced development of the PERSHING II

March 75 The contract option to begin the PERSHING advanced development was exercised.

18 November 77 The first PERSHING II missile advanced development firing took place.

20 February 79 The PERSHING II system formally entered the engineering development stage.

December 79 The NATO Ministers formally approved the basing of the PERSHING II missile system in Western Europe.

19 February 80 President Jimmy Carter awarded the PERSHING II program the BRICK-BAT (DX) priority rating, the highest national priority granted to a system.

December 81 The PERSHING II program entered the production phase.

August 82 The PERSHING Project Office celebrated its 20th anniversary.

April 83 The central training facility for transition training from PERSHING Ia to PERSHING II was activated at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Florida.

15 December 83 The initial operational capability for the PERSHING II was achieved when the 56th Field Artillery Brigade received its equipment.

30 June 84 Deployment of the first PERSHING II battalion was completed in Europe.

1 August 84 The CONUS deployment of the PERSHING II began.

13 December 85 The PERSHING II weapon system successfully achieved full operational capability in Europe.

20 to 21 May 87 The first PERSHING II night launches occurred at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. One of the missiles launched during this testing marked the 500th flight of the overall PERSHING program, which included the PERSHING I, PERSHING la, and PERSHING II.

8 December 87 The United States and the USSR signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

27 May 88 The U.S. Senate ratified the INF Treaty.

1 June 88 The PERSHING INF Management Control Center became operational on a 24-hour basis at Redstone Arsenal.

2 June 88 A CPFF contract was awarded to the Thiokol Corporation for the elimination of PERSHING rocket motors by static firing to meet the requirements of the INF Treaty. This contract also provided for the crushing and disposal of PERSHING la motor cases and nozzles.

1 September 88 In accordance with the provisions of the INF Treaty and the approved schedule, the stand down of the first PERSHING II United States Army, Europe (USAREUR) battery began.

8 September 88 The U.S. Army began eliminating PERSHING missile rocket motors as prescribed in the INF Treaty when a PERSHING II and a PERSHING la first stage motor were static fired at longhorn Army Ammunition Plant. Texas. Following the firings, both cases were placed in a hydraulic crusher and flattened.

October 88 The elimination through static burn (firing) of PERSHING la rocket motors began on a regularly scheduled basis at longhorn Army Ammunition Plant. An average of 48 first and second stage motors were eliminated per month by Morton Thiokol contractor personnel. Representatives from the Soviet Inspection Team and the On-Site Inspection Agency were present to witness the elimination process.

October 88 The first nine PERSHING II launchers were eliminated at the Equipment Maintenance Center-Hausen, Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany.

December 88 The initial elimination of nine PERSHING first and second stage motors, reentry Vehicles, warhead and radar section airframes, and 18 trainer stages was completed at Pueblo Depot Activity, Colorado.

13 May 89 After further negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, between the U.S. and Soviet governments, the Soviet Inspection Team began accepting incomplete PERSHING la motors for elimination.

6 July 89 The last PERSHING la motor stages were eliminated at Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant, five months ahead of schedule. A total of 343 PERSHING la motor stages were destroyed, marking the first time an entire class of nuclear weapons had been eliminated.

18 June 90 The dedication ceremony for a PERSHING II/SS-20 missile INF Treaty display was held at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC A similar exhibit is on display at the Soviet Military Museum in Moscow.

September to
October 90 The last CONUS treaty-related items consisting of PERSHING II launchers and trainer missile stages, were retrograded from Redstone Arsenal and Fort Sill to Pueblo Depot Activity.

20 September 90 As ordered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pieces of PERSHING II missiles were delivered to the United Nations in New York City for use with Soviet SS-20 missile pieces in a permanent art exhibit at the UN being designed by a Soviet artist.

FY 90 The German Air Force (GAF) unilaterally agreed to the retrograde of the PERSHING la system from their inventory. The GAF would keep the system fielded through mid-May 1991, after which time the United States would eliminate the GAF PERSHING la motors.

1 October 90 At 1800 hours Central European time, the last tactical PERSHING II missile stage was put in its container and verified safe to ship.

1 November 90 The last CONUS PERSHING II battery stood down at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the battalion–the 3/9th Field Artillery–was deactivated.

May 91 The first and second stage rocket motors of the last PERSHING II missiles were eliminated at Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant. This was in accordance with INF Treaty provisions requiring the elimination of an entire class of nuclear missiles by both the United States and USSR no later than 31 May 91.

May 91 The 56th Field Artillery Command (PERSHING) and subordinate elements deactivated, ending three decades of PERSHING service to the nation.

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