Pershing missile
Pershing was a family of solid-fueled two-stage medium-range ballistic missile
Medium-range ballistic missile
A medium-range ballistic missile , is a type of ballistic missile with medium range, this last classification depending on the standards of certain organizations. Within the U.S. Department of Defense, a medium range missile is defined by having a maximum range of between 1,000 and 3,000 km1...

s designed and built by Martin Marietta
Martin Marietta
Martin Marietta Corporation was an American company founded in 1961 through the merger of The Martin Company and American-Marietta Corporation. The combined company became a leader in chemicals, aerospace, and electronics. In 1995, it merged with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin. The...

 to replace the PGM-11 Redstone missile as the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's primary nuclear-capable theater-level weapon. The Pershing systems lasted over 30 years from the first test version in 1960 through final elimination in 1991. It was named after General John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

. The systems were managed by the U.S. Army Missile Command
United States Army Aviation and Missile Command
The United States Army Aviation and Missile Command is primarily responsible for life cycle management of army missile, helicopter, unmanned ground vehicle and unmanned aerial vehicle weapon systems. The central part of AMCOM's job involves acquisition and sustainment support for aviation and...

 (MICOM) and deployed by the Field Artillery Branch.


In 1956, George Bunker, the president of The Martin Company
Glenn L. Martin Company
The Glenn L. Martin Company was an American aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company that was founded by the aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin. The Martin Company produced many important aircraft for the defense of the United States and its allies, especially during World War II and the Cold War...

, paid a courtesy call on General John Medaris of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency
Army Ballistic Missile Agency
The Army Ballistic Missile Agency was the agency formed to develop the US Army's first intermediate range ballistic missile. It was established at Redstone Arsenal on February 1, 1956 and commanded by Major General John B...

 (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal
Redstone Arsenal
Redstone Arsenal is a United States Army base and a census-designated place adjacent to Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama, United States and is part of the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area...

. Medaris noted that it would be advantageous to the Army if there were a missile plant in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River.It is part of a region known as the...

. Martin began construction of their Sand Lake facility in Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

 and opened it in late 1957. Ed Uhl
Edward Uhl
Edward Uhl was a United States Army Ordnance Officer who helped to develop the M1 portable rocket launcher, known as the bazooka....

, co-inventor of the bazooka
Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless rocket antitank weapon, widely fielded by the U.S. Army. Also referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was amongst the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat...

, was the vice-president and general manager of the new facility.

The U.S. Army began studies in 1956 for a ballistic missile with a required range of 500 –. Later that year, Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Charles E. Wilson
Charles Erwin Wilson
Charles Erwin Wilson , American businessman and politician, was United States Secretary of Defense from 1953 to 1957 under President Eisenhower. Known as "Engine Charlie", he previously worked as CEO for General Motors. In the wake of the Korean War, he cut the defense budget significantly.-Early...

 issued the Wilson Memorandum that stripped the U.S. Army of all missiles with a range of 200 miles (321.9 km) or greater. When the memorandum was rescinded in 1958, ABMA began development of the class of ballistic missile. Initially called the Redstone-S, where the S meant solid propellant, the name was quickly changed to Pershing.

Seven companies were selected to provide proposals: Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

, Lockheed
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

, Douglas
Douglas Aircraft Company
The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer, based in Long Beach, California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas...

, Convair
Convair was an American aircraft manufacturing company which later expanded into rockets and spacecraft. The company was formed in 1943 by the merger of Vultee Aircraft and Consolidated Aircraft, and went on to produce a number of pioneering aircraft, such as the Convair B-36 bomber, and the F-102...

, Firestone
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is an American tire company founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900 to supply pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles. The company...

, Sperry-Rand
Sperry Corporation
Sperry Corporation was a major American equipment and electronics company whose existence spanned more than seven decades of the twentieth century...

 and The Martin Company. Secretary of the Army
United States Secretary of the Army
The Secretary of the Army is a civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States of America with statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and...

 Wilber Brucker
Wilber Marion Brucker
Wilber Marion Brucker was an American Republican politician. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, he served as the 32nd Governor of Michigan from 1931 to 1933 and as the United States Secretary of the Army between July 21, 1955 and January 19, 1961.-Early life:Brucker was born in Saginaw, Michigan, the son...

— former governor of Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 — was apparently under pressure from home to award the contract to a Michigan company. Chrysler was the only contractor from Michigan, but Medaris convinced Brucker to leave the decision entirely in the hands of ABMA. After a selection process by General Medaris and Dr. Arthur Rudolph
Arthur Rudolph
Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph was a German rocket engineer and member of the Nazi party who played a key role in the development of the V-2 rocket. After World War II he was brought to the United States, subsequently becoming a pioneer of the United States space program. He worked for the U.S...

, The Martin Company (later Martin Marietta after a 1961 merger) was awarded a CPFF (cost-plus-fixed-fee) contract for research, development, and initial production of the Pershing system under the technical supervision and concept control of the government. Martin's quality control manager for the Pershing, Phil Crosby
Phil Crosby
Philip Bayard "Phil" Crosby, was a businessman and author who contributed to management theory and quality management practices....

 developed the concept of Zero Defects
Zero Defects
"Zero Defects" is Step 7 of "Philip Crosby's 14 Step Quality Improvement Process" . Although applicable to any type of enterprise, it has been primarily adopted within industry supply chains wherever large volumes of components are being purchased .Zero Defects was a quality control program...

 that enhanced the production and reliability of the system.


The first XM14 R&D
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

 Pershing IThe original system was simply named Pershing, but was renamed Pershing I in 1965 when the Pershing Ia was introduced. Military documentation is inconsistent in the use of Arabic and Roman numerals and in capitalization, resulting in the use of I, 1, 1a, 1A, 2, II and the like. test missile, was launched on February 25, 1960. The first two-stage launch from the tactical transporter erector launcher
Transporter erector launcher
A transporter erector launcher is a vehicle with an integrated prime mover that can carry, elevate to firing position and launch one or more missiles. Such vehicles exist for both surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles...

 (TEL) was in January 1962. The first test flights used only the first stage, but by the end of 1962, full range two stage flights had been successful. For training there was an inert Pershing I missile designated XM19. In June 1963, the XM14 and XM19 Pershing missiles were redesignated as XMGM-31A and XMTM-31B, respectively. The production version of the tactical missile was subsequently designated as MGM-31A


Pershing made its first public appearance at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

 in May 1960 as part of a display for President Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

. Pershing later performed as part of the inaugural parade of President Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 in 1961. President Kennedy and other dignitaries visited White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range is a rocket range of almost in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. The largest military installation in the United States, WSMR includes the and the WSMR Otera Mesa bombing range...

 in 1963 to observe test firings of various weapons systems– Pershing was demonstrated, but not fired.

The 2nd Missile Battalion, 44th Artillery was activated at Fort Sill
Fort Sill
Fort Sill is a United States Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.Today, Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the South Plains built during the Indian Wars...

 as the first tactical Pershing unit. The 56th Field Artillery Group
56th Field Artillery Command
The 56th Field Artillery Command was a brigade size element of the United States Army. The unit was constituted in 1942 with the last period of active service being 1970 through 1991. It was the only unit to field the nuclear Pershing missile system. This unique mission required an almost "Super...

 was activated in Heilbronn
Heilbronn is a city in northern Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is completely surrounded by Heilbronn County and with approximately 123.000 residents, it is the sixth-largest city in the state....

, West Germany to become the parent unit for three missile battalions. The 4th Missile Battalion 41st Artillery was formed in 1963 and deployed to Schwäbisch Gmünd
Schwäbisch Gmünd
Schwäbisch Gmünd is a town in the eastern part of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. With a population of around 62,000, the town is the second largest in the Ostalbkreis and the whole region of East Württemberg after Aalen...

, West Germany. This was followed by the deployment of the 1st Battalion 81st Field Artillery at Wiley Barracks in Neu-Ulm
Neu-Ulm is a town in Bavaria, capital of the Neu-Ulm district. Neighbouring towns include Ulm, Senden, Pfaffenhofen an der Roth, Holzheim, Nersingen and Elchingen. The population is 51,110 .-History:...

. In 1964, the Secretary of Defense assigned the Pershing weapon system to a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role after a DoD
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 study showed that Pershing would be superior to tactical aircraft for the QRA mission. The Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 began training at Fort Sill. The 2nd Missile Battalion, 79th Artillery was formed for deployment to South Korea, but was deactivated before equipment was issued. In 1965, three U.S. Army battalions and two Luftwaffe wings
Wing (air force unit)
Wing is a term used by different military aviation forces for a unit of command. The terms wing, group or Staffel are used for different-sized units from one country or service to another....

 were operational in Germany. The 579th Ordnance company was later moved to Nelson Barracks in Neu-Ulm and tasked with maintenance and logistical general support for the Pershing artillery units.


The Pershing I missile was powered by two Thiokol
Thiokol is a U.S. corporation concerned initially with rubber and related chemicals, and later with rocket and missile propulsion systems...

 solid-propellant engines. Since a solid-propellant engine cannot be turned off, selective range was achieved by thrust reversal
Thrust reversal
Thrust reversal, also called reverse thrust, is the temporary diversion of an aircraft engine's exhaust or changing of propeller pitch so that the thrust produced is directed forward, rather than aft. This acts against the forward travel of the aircraft, providing deceleration...

 and case venting. The rocket stages were attached with splice bands and explosive bolts
Pyrotechnic fastener
A pyrotechnic fastener is a fastener, usually a nut or bolt, that incorporates a pyrotechnic charge that can be initiated remotely. One or more explosive charges embedded within the bolt are typically activated by an electric current, and the charge breaks the bolt into two or more pieces...

. As directed by the onboard guidance computer, the bolts would explode and eject the splice band. Another squib
Squib (explosive)
A squib is a miniature explosive device used in a wide range of industries, from special effects to military applications. It resembles a tiny stick of dynamite, both in appearance and construction, although with considerably less explosive power...

 would open the thrust reversal ports in the forward end of the stage and ignite the propellant in the forward end, causing the engine to reverse direction. During testing, it was found that the second stage would draft
A slipstream is a region behind a moving object in which a wake of fluid is moving at velocities comparable to the moving object . The term slipstream also applies to the similar region adjacent to an object with a fluid moving around it...

 behind the warhead and cause it to drift off course, so an explosive charge was added to the side of the engine that would open the case and vent the propellant. The range could be graduated but the maximum was 740 kilometres (399.6 nmi). The missile was steered by jet vanes in the rocket nozzles and air vanes on the engine case. Guidance was provided by an onboard analog guidance computer and an Eclipse-Pioneer
Pioneer Instrument Company
The Pioneer Instrument Company was started by Morris Titterington and Brice Herbert Goldsborough in Brooklyn, New York in 1919. Charles H. Colvin was the president. They specialized in aeronautical instruments including a bubble sextant and the Earth Inductor Compass...

 ST-120 (Stable Table-120) Inertial navigation system
Inertial navigation system
An inertial navigation system is a navigation aid that uses a computer, motion sensors and rotation sensors to continuously calculate via dead reckoning the position, orientation, and velocity of a moving object without the need for external references...

. The warhead could be conventional explosive or a W50
W50 (atomic weapon)
The W-50 or W50 thermonuclear warhead was a nuclear bomb used on the MGM-31 Pershing intermediate range nuclear missile.There were two major variants produced , in three yield options .All variants were in diameter and long, weighing .The W50 used the Tsetse primary design...

 nuclear warhead
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 with three yield options— the Y1 with 60 kiloton yield, Y2 with 200 kiloton yield and Y3 with 400 kiloton yield.

Ground equipment

The Pershing I firing platoon consisted of four M474
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier variants
A huge number of M113 Armored Personnel Carrier variants have been created, ranging from infantry carriers to nuclear missile carriers. The M113 armored personnel carrier has become one of the most prolific armored vehicles of the second half of the 20th century, and continues to serve with armies...

 tracked-vehicles– by comparison, Redstone needed twenty vehicles. The transporter erector launcher (TEL) transported the two stages and the guidance section as an assembly and provided the launch platform after the warhead was mated. It utilized a removable erector launcher designed by Unidynamics and manufactured by FMC Corporation The warhead carrier transported the warhead
The term warhead refers to the explosive material and detonator that is delivered by a missile, rocket, or torpedo.- Etymology :During the early development of naval torpedoes, they could be equipped with an inert payload that was intended for use during training, test firing and exercises. This...

 and the azimuth laying set used to position the missile. The programmer test station (PTS) and power station (PS) were mounted on one carrier.

The PTS featured rapid missile checkout and countdowns, with complete computer control, and automatic self test and malfunction isolation. Additionally, the PTS would perform tests that simulated airborne missile operation, programed the trajectory of the missile, and controlled the firing sequence. Plug-in micromodules, increased maintainability and allowed the PTS operator to perform 80% of all repairs at the firing position. A turbine driven Power Station, mounted behind the PTS, provided the primary electrical and pneumatic power and conditioned air for the missile and ground support equipment at the firing position.

The AN/TRC-80 Radio Terminal Set
AN/TRC-80 Radio Terminal Set
The AN/TRC-80 Radio Terminal Set was a United States Army communications system that provided line-of-sight or tropospheric scatter voice and teletypewriter communications between Pershing missile firing units and higher headquarters. Commonly known as the "Track 80", it was built by Collins Radio...

 was produced by Collins Radio Company
Rockwell Collins
Rockwell Collins, Inc. is a large United States-based international company headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, primarily providing aviation and information technology systems and services to governmental agencies and aircraft manufacturers.- History :...

 specifically for the Pershing system. The "Track 80" used an inflatable dish antenna
Parabolic antenna
A parabolic antenna is an antenna that uses a parabolic reflector, a curved surface with the cross-sectional shape of a parabola, to direct the radio waves. The most common form is shaped like a dish and is popularly called a dish antenna or parabolic dish...

 to provide line-of-sight
Line-of-sight propagation
Line-of-sight propagation refers to electro-magnetic radiation or acoustic wave propagation. Electromagnetic transmission includes light emissions traveling in a straight line...

 or tropospheric-scatter
Tropospheric scatter
Tropospheric scatter is a method of transmitting and receiving microwave radio signals over considerable distances – often up to 300 km...

 voice and teleprinter
A teleprinter is a electromechanical typewriter that can be used to communicate typed messages from point to point and point to multipoint over a variety of communication channels that range from a simple electrical connection, such as a pair of wires, to the use of radio and microwave as the...

 communications between missile firing units and higher headquarters. The erector-launcher, PTS, PS and RTS could be removed from the carriers and air-transported in fourteen CH-47 Chinook
CH-47 Chinook
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots is faster than contemporary utility and attack helicopters of the 1960s...



The missile had to be positioned or "laid in" on a pre-surveyed site with a system of two theodolite
A theodolite is a precision instrument for measuring angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. Theodolites are mainly used for surveying applications, and have been adapted for specialized purposes in fields like metrology and rocket launch technology...

s and a target card. Directional control was passed from one theodolite to the one next to the missile. The missile was then oriented to north by an operator using a horizontal laying theodolite aimed at a window in the guidance section of the missile. Using a control box, the ST-120 Inertial navigation system in the guidance section was rotated until it was aligned; at this point the missile "knew" which direction was north.

Satellite launcher

In 1961, Martin proposed a satellite launch system based on the Pershing. Named Pegasus, it would have had a lighter, simplified guidance section and a short third stage booster. A 60 pounds (27.2 kg) payload could be boosted to a 210 miles (338 km) circular orbit
In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space, for example the orbit of a planet around the center of a star system, such as the Solar System...

, or to an elliptical orbit with a 700 miles (1,126.5 km) apogee
An apsis , plural apsides , is the point of greatest or least distance of a body from one of the foci of its elliptical orbit. In modern celestial mechanics this focus is also the center of attraction, which is usually the center of mass of the system...

. Pegasus would have used the Pershing erector-launcher and could be emplaced in any open area. Martin seems to have been targeting the nascent European space program, but this program was never developed.


In 1965, the Army contracted with the Applied Physics Laboratory
Applied Physics Laboratory
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory , located in Howard County, Maryland near Laurel and Columbia, is a not-for-profit, university-affiliated research center employing 4,500 people. APL is primarily a defense contractor. It serves as a technical resource for the Department of...

 (APL) of Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 to develop and implement a test and evaluation program. APL provided technical support to the Pershing Operational Test Unit (POTU), identified problem areas and improved the performance and survivability of the Pershing systems.


In 1964, a series of operational tests and follow-on tests were performed to determine the reliability of the Pershing I. The Secretary of Defense then requested that the Army define the modifications required to make Pershing suitable for the quick reaction alert (QRA) role. The Pershing IA development program was approved in 1965, and the original Pershing was renamed to Pershing I. Martin Marietta received the Pershing IA production contract in mid-1967. The 2nd Battalion, 44th Field Artillery received equipment at Fort Sill in 1969. Project SWAP replaced all of the Pershing equipment in Germany by mid-1970 and the first units quickly achieved QRA status.

Pershing IA was a quick reaction alert system and so had faster vehicles, launch times and newer electronics. The total number of launchers was increased from eight to 36 per battalion. It was deployed from May 1969 and by 1970 almost all the Pershing I systems had been upgraded to Pershing IA under Project SWAP. Production of the Pershing IA missile ended in 1975 and reopened in 1977 to replace missiles expended in training.

Pershing IA was further improved in 1971 with the Pershing Missile and Power Station Development Program. The analog guidance computer and the control computer in the missile were replaced by a single digital guidance and control computer. The main distributor in the missile that routed power and signals was replaced with a new version. The missile used a rotary inverter to convert DC to AC— this was replaced by a solid-state static inverter. The power station was improved for accessibility and maintenance. Further improvements in 1976 allowed the firing of a platoon's three missiles in quick succession and from any site without the need for surveying. The Automatic Reference System (ARS) use an optical laser link and a north-seeking gyro with encode to eliminate the need for pre-selected and surveyed points. The Sequential Launch Adapter connected the PTS to three missiles, eliminating the need to cable and uncable each launcher.

A total of 754 Pershing I and Pershing IA missiles were built with 180 deployed in Europe.


The battalions in Europe were reorganized under new tables of organization and equipment
Table of Organization and Equipment
A table of organization and equipment is a document published by the U.S. Department of Defense which prescribes the organization, staffing, and equippage of units. Also used in acronyms as 'T/O' and 'T/E'....

 (TOE); an infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 was authorized and formed to provide additional security for the system; and the 56th Artillery Group was reorganized and redesignated the 56th Field Artillery Brigade. Due to the nature of the weapon system, officer positions were increased by one grade: batteries
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 were commanded by a major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

 instead of a captain; battalions were commanded by a colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

; and the brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 was commanded by a brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...


Pershing la was deployed with three U.S. battalions in Europe and two Federal Republic of Germany Luftwaffe wings. Each battalion or wing had 36 mobile launchers. Due to legal issues of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany prohibiting (West) Germany to own (or directly control) nuclear weapons the direct command and control of the nuclear warheads remained in the hands of the U.S. army. During peacetime operations, a portion of the Pershing IA assets was deployed on the QRA mission. The remainder would be conducting field training or were maintained in kaserne
Kaserne is a loanword taken from the German word Kaserne , which translates as "barracks". It is the typical term used when naming the garrison location for NATO forces stationed in Germany...

s awaiting alert. The system was designed to be highly mobile, permitting its dispersal to clandestine sites in times of alert or war and was deployed at distances greater than 100 km behind the forward edge of battle area
Front line
A front line is the farthest-most forward position of an armed force's personnel and equipment - generally in respect of maritime or land forces. Forward Line of Own Troops , or Forward Edge of Battle Area are technical terms used by all branches of the armed services...

 or political border. Owing to its mobility and setback, Pershing was considered one of the most survivable theater nuclear weapons ever deployed in Europe.

The primary mission in the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Supreme Allied Commander
Supreme Allied Commander is the title held by the most senior commander within certain multinational military alliances. It originated as a term used by the Western Allies during World War II, and is currently used only within NATO. Dwight Eisenhower served as Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary...

 scheduled plan took one of two forms: peacetime or an increased state of readiness called period of tension. Different levels or techniques of tasking were used for these mission forms. The peacetime quick reaction alert role required that for each battalion or wing, one firing battery or a portion thereof would be combat alert status (CAS) on a permanent hard site, covering assigned targets.

In peacetime the four batteries of each battalion rotated through four states or conditions of alert readiness, the highest being that of the CAS battery. The purpose of this rotation was to assume the CAS status, to share the burden of CAS responsibility, to provide time for field tactical training and equipment maintenance, and to give ample leave and pass time to personnel without adverse impact on operational requirements.

During periods of increased tension, the firing batteries of each battalion were deployed to previously unused field tactical sites. At these sites, they assumed responsibility for coverage of all assigned targets. During transition from the peacetime to full combat status, coverage was maintained on the highest priority targets that were assigned to the peacetime CAS batteries.

Once all firing batteries were at their field sites, the firing elements of the battalions were deployed by platoons, which were then separated from each other geographically to reduce vulnerability. The platoons then moved to new firing positions on a random schedule to increase survivability.


The M790 erector launcher (EL) was a modified low-boy flat-bed trailer towed by a Ford
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 M757 5-ton tractor. The erection booms used a 3,000 psi pneumatic over hydraulic system that could erect the 5 ton missile from horizontal to vertical in nine seconds. Due to the overall missile length and for security, the warhead was not mated during travel. It was stored in a carrier and mated using a hand-pumped davit after the launcher was emplaced.

The PTS and PS were mounted on a Ford M656 truck. Launch activation was performed from a remote fire box that could be deployed locally or mounted in the battery control central (BCC). One PTS controlled three launchers— when one launch count was complete, ten large cables were moved to the next launcher.

Further improvements

A repackaging effort of the missile and power station was completed in 1974 to provide easier access to missile components, reduce maintenance, and improve reliability. A new digital guidance and control computer combined the functions of the analog control computer and the analog guidance computer into one package. The mean corrective maintenance time was decreased from 8.7 hours to a requirement of 3.8 hours. The reliability increased from 32 hours mean time between failures to a requirement of 65 hours. In 1976, the sequential launch adapter (SLA) and the automatic reference system (ARS) were introduced. The SLA was an automatic switching device mounted in a 10 ton trailer that allowed the PTS to remain connected to all three launchers. This allowed all three launchers to remain "hot" and greatly decreasing the time between launches. The ARS eliminated the theodolites previously used to lay and orient the missile. It included a north seeking gyro and a laser link to the ST-120 in the missile. Once the ARS was set up, a cold missile could be oriented in a much shorter time.


DoD policies restricted females from many positions. The first female mechanical repairer (46N, Ordnance Branch) graduated from the Pershing course at Redstone Arsenal in 1974. The first female enlisted Pershing missile crewmembers (15E, Field Artillery) graduated in 1978, as did the first female Field Artillery officer.


In 1973, a task force was established to begin development of a follow on system. The 400 kt
TNT equivalent
TNT equivalent is a method of quantifying the energy released in explosions. The ton of TNT is a unit of energy equal to 4.184 gigajoules, which is approximately the amount of energy released in the detonation of one ton of TNT...

 warhead was greatly over-powered for the QRA mission, and a smaller warhead required greater accuracy. The contract went to Martin Marietta in 1975 and the first development launches began in 1977. Pershing IINo official military documentation uses the MGM-31 series designation for the Pershing II. was to use the new W85
The W85 was a thermonuclear warhead developed by the United States of America to arm the Pershing II missile. It had a variable yield— often referred to as "dial-a-yield" — which could be set between 5 and 80 kilotons.-Overview:...

 warhead with a 5-50 kt variable yield
Variable yield
Variable yield — or dial-a-yield — is an option available on most modern nuclear weapons. It allows the operator to specify a weapon's yield, or explosive power, allowing a single design to be used in different situations...

 or an earth-penetrator
Nuclear bunker buster
Bunker-busting nuclear weapons, also known as earth-penetrating weapons , are a type of nuclear weapon designed to penetrate into soil, rock, or concrete to deliver a nuclear warhead to a target. These weapons would be used to destroy hardened, underground military bunkers buried deep in the ground...

The W86 was an American thermonuclear warhead with earth-penetrating characteristics which was intended for use on the Pershing II IRBM missile....

 warhead. The warhead was to be packaged in a maneuverable reentry vehicle
Maneuverable reentry vehicle
The maneuverable reentry vehicle is a type of ballistic missile warhead capable of shifting targets in flight...

 (MARV) with active radar guidance and would be launched with the Pershing I rocket engines. In 1975, the U.S. turned down a request from Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 to purchase the new Pershing II.

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 began deployment of the RSD-10 Pioneer (SS-20) in 1976. Since the initial version of the SS-20 had a range of 2700 miles (4,345.2 km) and two warheads, the Pershing II requirement was changed to increase the range to 900 miles (1,448.4 km), but it did not have the range to reach into Russia, thus the NATO Double-Track Decision
NATO Double-Track Decision
The NATO Double-Track Decision is the decision of NATO from December 12, 1979 to offer the Warsaw Pact a mutual limitation of Medium-range ballistic missiles and Intermediate-range ballistic missiles combined with the threat that in case of disagreement NATO would deploy more middle range nuclear...

 to deploy the medium range Pershing and the longer range, but slower Gryphon Ground Launched Cruise Missile
Ground Launched Cruise Missile
The Ground Launched Cruise Missile, or GLCM, was a ground-launched cruise missile developed by the United States Air Force in the last decade of the Cold War.-Overview:...


The hard target capability and W86 warhead were canceled in 1980 and all production Pershing II missiles used the W85. A concept warhead using kinetic energy penetrator
Kinetic energy penetrator
A kinetic energy penetrator is a type of ammunition which, like a bullet, does not contain explosives and uses kinetic energy to penetrate the target....

s for counter-airfield operations never materialized.


Because of SALT II
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties involving the United States and the Soviet Union—the Cold War superpowers—on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT...

 agreements, no new launchers could be built, therefore the new missile had to fit onto upgraded Pershing IA launchers. The functions of the vehicle mounted PTS needed for the older systems were consolidated into a panel on the side of the launcher. The warhead and radar sections were carried as an assembly on a pallet that rotated to mate with the main missile.

The prime mover for the launcher was the M983 HEMTT
Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck
The Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck series is a range of eight-wheel drive diesel-powered off-road capable trucks, used by the US military. Formally described as "Truck, Cargo: 10-Ton, 8x8", it has been nicknamed the "Dragon Wagon". HEMTT trucks first went into service with the U.S...

 for units in the U.S. and a MAN tractor for units in Germany. The tractors had a crane used for missile assembly and a generator to provide power for the launcher and missile. Since the new guidance system was self-orienting, the launcher could be emplaced on any surveyed site and launched within minutes.

Missile engines

The new rocket engines were built by Hercules. To minimize airframe weight, the rocket cases were spun from Kevlar
Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires...

 with aluminum attach rings.

Reentry vehicle

The G&CC contained an inertial guidance system that could guide the missile on-target in a pure ballistic mode as a backup. The primary guidance was the Goodyear Aerospace
Goodyear Aerospace
Goodyear Aerospace Corporation was the aerospace and defense subsidiary of Goodyear.-Early Years:The company began as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Aeronautics Department and renamed in 1917 as the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation set up to construct dirigibles for the US military...

 active radar guidance system. Using radar maps of the target area, the missile had an accuracy of 30 metres (98.4 ft) circular error probable
Circular error probable
In the military science of ballistics, circular error probable is an intuitive measure of a weapon system's precision...


The reentry vehicle (RV) was structurally and functionally divided into three sections: the radar section (RS), warhead section (WHS) and the guidance and control adapter (G&C/A) section. Quick access splices made the RV sections completely replaceable at the firing site.

The radar section consisted of the radar unit with the antenna enclosed in an ablative radome. The function of the radar unit was to transmit radio frequency energy to the target area, receive altitude and video return, and route the detected video and altitude data to the digital correlator unit (DCU) located in the G&C/A section.

The warhead section contained the W85
The W85 was a thermonuclear warhead developed by the United States of America to arm the Pershing II missile. It had a variable yield— often referred to as "dial-a-yield" — which could be set between 5 and 80 kilotons.-Overview:...

 warhead. Provisions were made within the warhead section for mounting the warhead cables, the rate gyro unit, and the cables that passed from the G&C/A section to the RS.

The G&C/A section consisted of two separate portions, the G&C and adapter, which were connected by a manufacturing splice. At the forward end of the G&C there was a quick access splice for attachment to the warhead section. At the aft end, the adapter was grooved to accept the V-band that spliced the propulsion section to the G&C/A section. The RV separation system consisted of a linear shaped charge ring assembly bolted to the G&C section so that separation occurred just forward of the G&C/A manufacturing splice. A protective collar on the outer surface of the adapter, mounted over the location of the linear shaped charge, provides personnel protection during G&C/A handling operations.

Within the G&C was the Singer-Kearfott
Kearfott Guidance & Navigation
Kearfott was a defense equipment manufacturer founded in 1917. Today the electronics division is part of BAE Systems, while the remaining Kearfott Guidance & Navigation division is a subsidiary of the Astronautics Corporation of America...

 inertial navigation system, the G&C computer, the digital correlator unit and actuators to drive the air fins.

Radar area correlator

The highly accurate terminal guidance technique used by the Pershing II RV was radar area correlation, using a Goodyear Aerospace
Goodyear Aerospace
Goodyear Aerospace Corporation was the aerospace and defense subsidiary of Goodyear.-Early Years:The company began as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Aeronautics Department and renamed in 1917 as the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation set up to construct dirigibles for the US military...

 active radar guidance system. This technique compared live radar video return to prestored reference scenes of the target area and determined RV position errors with respect to its trajectory and target location. These position errors were used to update the inertial guidance system, which in turn sent commands to the vane control system to guide the RV to the target.

At a predetermined altitude, the radar unit was activated to provide altitude update data and begin scanning the target area. The analog radar video return was digitized into 2-bit pixels by the correlator unit and was formatted into a 128 by 128 array. The target reference scene data, loaded prior to launch via the ground and missile data links, were also encoded as 2-bit pixels and placed
in reference memory formatted in a 256 by 256 array. The reference scene resolution necessary to correspond to the decreasing altitude of the RV was effected by placing four reference data arrays in memory, each representing a given altitude band. This correlation process was performed several times during each of four altitude bands and continued to update the inertial guidance system until just prior to impact.

If for some reason the correlator system failed to operate or if the correlation data quality was determined to be faulty, the inertial guidance system continued to operate and guided the RV to the target area with inertial accuracy only.

Goodyear also developed the Reference Scene Generation Facility— a truck mounted shelter containing the equipment required to program the missile targeting. Radar maps of target areas were stored on disk, then specific targeting data was transferred to a tape cartridge. During countdown operations, the cartridge was plugged into the launcher control panel.


Prior to launch, the missile was referenced in azimuth by its gyrocompass
A gyrocompass­ is a type of non-magnetic compass which bases on a fast-spinning disc and rotation of our planet to automatically find geographical direction...

ing inertial platform. After launch, the missile followed an inertially guided trajectory
A trajectory is the path that a moving object follows through space as a function of time. The object might be a projectile or a satellite, for example. It thus includes the meaning of orbit—the path of a planet, an asteroid or a comet as it travels around a central mass...

 until RV separation. Attitude and guidance commands during powered flight (except for roll attitude) were executed via the swivel nozzles in the two propulsion sections. Roll control was provided by two movable air vanes
on the first stage during first stage flight and by the RV air vanes during second stage flight. The first stage also had two fixed air vanes for stability during first stage powered flight.

The midcourse phase of the trajectory was initiated at RV separation and continued until the terminal phase began. At the beginning of the midcourse phase, the RV was pitched down to orient it for reentry and to reduce its radar cross section. Midcourse attitude was then controlled by the RV vane control system during atmospheric exit and reentry, and by a reaction control system during exoatmospheric flight.

At a predetermined altitude above the target, the terminal phase would begin. A velocity control maneuver (pull up, pull down) was executed under inertial guidance control to slow down the RV and achieve the proper impact velocity. The radar correlator system was activated and the radar scanned the target area. Radar return data was compared to prestored reference data and the resulting position fix information was used to update the inertial guidance system and generate RV steering commands. The RV was then maneuvered to the target by the RV vane control system.


By 1975, NATO had lost its strategic nuclear lead over the Soviet Union, and with the introduction of the SS-20, had even fallen behind. NATO's answer was not long in coming and on December 12, 1979, NATO decided to deploy 572 new nuclear missiles in Europe: 108 Pershing II Missiles and 464 cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s. Of the cruise missiles, 160 were stationed in England, 96 in West Germany, 112 in Italy, 48 in the Netherlands, and 48 in Belgium. All 108 Pershings were stationed in West Germany.

The second significant aspect of the NATO decision was the readiness to horse trade
Horse trading
In the original sense, Horse trading is the buying and selling of horses, also called "Horse Dealing". Due to the difficulties in evaluating the merits of a horse offered for sale, the selling of horses offered great opportunities for dishonesty...

 with the Soviet Union for the reduction or total elimination of these missiles against similar reductions or elimination of the Russian SS-20s.

NATO's condition for not carrying out its plans was the Soviet Union's willingness to halt the deployment of mobile SS-20 nuclear missiles aimed at Europe and remove the missiles already deployed. In 1979, when the NATO decision was taken, the Soviet Union had 14 (1 operational) SS-20 launch sites. The eighty located in East Germany and Czechoslovakia were aimed at targets in West Europe. According to Western estimates, at the beginning of 1986 the Soviet Union already deployed 279 SS-20 launching installations with a total of 837 nuclear warheads in East Germany and Czechoslovakia.

Almost 380 Pershing II missiles were made. They were first deployed in West Germany beginning in late November 1983; the European deployment was completed in late 1985 with a total of 108 launchers. Initial Operational Status was achieved on December 15, 1983 when A Battery, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment rotated on to operational status with the Pershing II's at its site in Mutlangen.

In 1986, the U.S. Army had three battalions, with a total of 108 Martin Marrieta Pershing 2 missiles, stationed in the Federal Republic at Neu Ulm, Mutlangen and Neckarsulm. The Pershing II's replaced a similar number of Pershing 1As that had been stored in the Federal Republic since 1962.

On January 11, 1985, three soldiers of C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Field Artillery were killed in an explosion at Camp Redleg, Heilbronn
Heilbronn is a city in northern Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is completely surrounded by Heilbronn County and with approximately 123.000 residents, it is the sixth-largest city in the state....

. The explosion occurred while removing a missile stage from the storage container during an assembly operation. An investigation revealed that the Kevlar rocket bottle had accumulated a triboelectric charge
Triboelectric effect
The triboelectric effect is a type of contact electrification in which certain materials become electrically charged after they come into contact with another different material and are then separated...

 in the cold dry weather; as the engine was removed from the container the electrical charge began to flow and created a hot spot that ignited the propellant. A moratorium on missile movement was enacted through late 1986 when new grounding and handling procedures were put into place.

In 1982, the 55th Maintenance Battalion was activated as part of the 56th Field Artillery Brigade. The 579th Ordnance Company was deactivated and reformed as Headquarters Company and D Company. The three service batteries in the field artillery battalions were deactivated and reformed as forward service companies under the 55th.

In January 1986, there was a major reorganization of the tactical units in Germany. The 56th Field Artillery Brigade was redesignated as the 56th Field Artillery Command and was authorized a major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 as a commander. 1st Battalion, 81st Field Artillery was inactivated and reformed as 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery in Neu-Ulm, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery was inactivated and reformed as 2nd Battalion, 9th Field Artillery in Schwäbisch-Gmünd and 3rd Battalion, 84th Field Artillery was inactivated and reformed as 4th Battalion, 9th Field Artillery in Heilbronn. With 3rd Battalion, 9th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, all of the firing units were then under the 9th Field Artillery Regiment. The 55th Maintenance Battalion was redesignated as 55th Support Battalion and E Company, 55th Maintenance Battalion was deactivated and reformed as the 193rd Aviation Company.

Pershing IB and Pershing II RR

Pershing IB was a single stage, reduced range version of Pershing II with the same range as the Pershing IA. The Pershing II launcher was designed so that the cradle could be easily repositioned to handle the shorter missile body. The intent was to replace the Luftwaffe Pershing IA systems with Pershing IB, since SALT II limited the range of German owned missiles. Germany agreed to destroy their Pershing IA systems when the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty, thus the Pershing IB was never deployed.

Pershing II Reduced Range (RR) was a follow on concept that would have modified the launchers to hold two single-stage missiles.


: United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

  • 56th Field Artillery Command
    56th Field Artillery Command
    The 56th Field Artillery Command was a brigade size element of the United States Army. The unit was constituted in 1942 with the last period of active service being 1970 through 1991. It was the only unit to field the nuclear Pershing missile system. This unique mission required an almost "Super...

 Germany West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

:German Air Force
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

  • Flugkörpergeschwader 1 (1st Surface-to-Surface Missile Wing)
  • Flugkörpergeschwader 2 (2nd Surface-to-Surface Missile Wing)


The Pershing systems were scrapped following the ratification of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is a 1987 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. Signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987, it was ratified by the United States Senate on May 27, 1988 and...

 on May 27, 1988. The missiles were withdrawn in October 1988; the last of the missiles were destroyed by the static burn of their rockets and subsequently crushed in May 1991 at the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant near Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake is a lake and wetland located on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in northern Harrison County and southern Marion County in Texas and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo, who lived in...

, Texas. Although not covered by the treaty, West Germany unilaterally agreed to the retrograde of the Pershing IA system from their inventory in 1991, and the missiles were destroyed.


The INF treaty only covered the destruction of launchers and rocket motors. The W-85 warheads used in the Pershing II missiles were removed, modified, and reused in B61
B61 nuclear bomb
The B61 nuclear bomb is the primary thermonuclear weapon in the U.S. Enduring Stockpile following the end of the Cold War. It is an intermediate yield strategic and tactical nuclear weapon featuring a two-stage radiation implosion design....

 gravity bomb
Gravity bomb
An unguided bomb, also known as a free-fall bomb, gravity bomb, dumb bomb, or iron bomb, is a conventional aircraft-delivered bomb that does not contain a guidance system and hence, simply follows a ballistic trajectory....

s. The Pershing II guidance section was re-used in the Coleman Aerospace Hera and the Orbital Sciences
Orbital Sciences Corporation
Orbital Sciences Corporation is an American company which specializes in the manufacturing and launch of satellites. Its Launch Systems Group is heavily involved with missile defense launch systems...

 Storm II.

The INF Treaty allowed for inert Pershing II missiles to be retained for display purposes. One is now on display in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, alongside a Soviet SS-20 missile. Another is at the Central Armed Forces Museum
Central Armed Forces Museum
The Central Armed Forces Museum also known as the Museum of the Soviet Army, is located in northern Moscow near the Red Army Theater.-History:...

 in Moscow, Russia, also with a SS-20. A number of inert Pershing I and Pershing IA missiles are displayed in the U.S. and Germany.

Scrap material from the Pershing and SS-20 missiles has been used in several projects. Zurab Tsereteli
Zurab Tsereteli
Zurab Konstantines dze Tsereteli is a Georgian-Russian painter, sculptor and architect who holds the office of President of the Russian Academy of Arts.- Life :...

 created a sculpture entitled Good Defeats Evil, a 39 feet (12 m), 40 short tons (36,287.4 kg) monumental bronze statue of Saint George
Saint George
Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

 fighting the dragon of nuclear war– the dragon is made of sections of the Pershing and SS-20 missiles. The sculpture was donated to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 by the Soviet Union in 1990 and is located on the grounds of the United Nations Headquarters
United Nations headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

 in New York City.

In 1991, Leonard Cheshire
Leonard Cheshire
Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire, VC, OM, DSO and Two Bars, DFC was a highly decorated British RAF pilot during the Second World War....

's World Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief sold badges of the group logo made of scrap material. Parker
Parker Pen Company
The Parker Pen Company is a manufacturer of pens, founded in 1888 by George Safford Parker in Janesville, Wisconsin, United States. It is currently owned by Newell Rubbermaid, and headquartered in Newhaven, East Sussex, England.-History:...

 created a series of pens with a Memorial Fund badge made of scrap missile material, with half the proceeds going to the fund.


In 2000, a number of U.S. Army Pershing veterans decided to seek out fellow veterans and to start acquiring information and artifacts on the Pershing systems. In 2004, the Pershing Professionals Association was incorporated to meet long-term goals— to preserve, interpret and encourage interest in the history of the Pershing missile systems and the soldiers who served; and to make such information accessible to present and future generations to foster a deeper appreciation of the role that Pershing played in world history. Veterans of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry who had performed security on the Pershing systems formed a sub-chapter known as the Pershing Tower Rats. The two Luftwaffe missile wings in Germany also formed veterans groups.


Pershing has appeared significantly in several types of fiction media. Weird Science
Weird Science (film)
Weird Science is a 1985 American teen comedy film written and directed by John Hughes and starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock...

is a popular 1985 teen film written and directed by John Hughes; a Pershing II missile is created from a cover of Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

. The Pershing has also appeared in the novels Countdown by David Hagberg, Trio: Almost Lost by R. A. Montgomery
R. A. Montgomery
Raymond Almiran Montgomery is an American author and key figure in the Choose Your Own Adventure interactive children's book series.-Career:...

, The Normandy Code by Nick Carter
Nick Carter-Killmaster
Nick Carter-Killmaster is a series of spy adventures published from 1964 until the late 1990s, first by Award Books, then by Ace Books, and finally by Jove Books. At least 261 novels were published....

 and Footfall
Footfall is a 1985 science fiction novel written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It was nominated for the both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1986, and was a No...

by Larry Niven
Larry Niven
Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

 and Jerry Pournelle
Jerry Pournelle
Jerry Eugene Pournelle is an American science fiction writer, essayist and journalist who contributed for many years to the computer magazine Byte and has since 1998 been maintaining his own website/blog....

. The first few chapters of Sleipnir by Linda Evans
Linda Evans (author)
Linda Evans is an American science fiction writer from Archer, Florida. She is an author of nine novels and four anthologies, as well as of several other co-authored novels. In 1996 her published novels had sold more than 100,000 copies.-Early life:...

 are based on the real life experiences of a Pershing guard with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry. In the 2009 film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is an American adventure comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, and starring Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, and Steve Coogan. The film is a sequel to Night at the Museum...

, the scene at the National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

includes prop versions of the Pershing II and SS-20 missiles.
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