The missile launching operation centered at what is now known as Cape Canaveral Air Force Station involves a number of related entities, each with its own name. Some names are organizations while others are physical installations.
The names have changed over the years to keep pace with evolving missions and responsibilities. The name changes can lead to confusion especially when trying to understand historical documents.
The table below is presented as an aid to interpreting documents that reference older organizational and installation names. The table references only military name history and does not include Kennedy Space Center (another installation) which is administered by NASA, each with its own name evolution.
Name Change Timeline:
Banana River Naval Air Station 1 October 1940 – August 1947
Transferred to Air force on standby status 1 September 1948
Advance Headquarters, Joint Long Range Proving Ground 1 October 1949
Joint Long Rang Proving Ground 10 June 1949
Operating Sub-Division #1 1950
Bahama Long Range Proving Ground or Long Range Proving Ground 1950
Headquarters, Joint Long Range Proving Ground 10 April 1950
Headquarters, Long Range Proving round Division 16 May 1950
Long Range Proving Ground Air Force Base 17 May 1950
Headquarters, Air Force Missile Test Center 30 June 1951
Patrick Air Force Base 1 August 1950
Cape Canaveral Auxiliary Air Force Base 5 October 1951
Florida Missile Test Range (Unofficial) 1952
Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex 16 December 1955
Atlantic Missile Range 1 May 1958
Headquarters, Air Force Eastern Test Range 15 May 1964
Cape Kennedy Air Force Station 22 January 1964
Eastern Test Range 15 May 1964
Detachment 1, Space and Missile Test Center, Eastern Test Range 1 February 1977
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station 1 April 1974
Headquarters, Eastern Space and Missile Center 1 October 1979
Eastern Range 1 October 1990
45th Space Wing 12 November 1991
Cape Canaveral Air Station April 1994
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station 4 February 2000
INSIGNIA FOR SELECTED NAMES
Long Range Proving Ground Division
Air Force Missile Test Center
Atlantic Missile Range
Air Force Eastern Test Range
Eastern Space and Missile Center
6555th Aerospace Test Wing
45th Space Wing
HISTORY AND HERALDRY OF THE 45TH SPACE WING
Extracted from: The 45th Space Wing: Its Heritage, History & Honors 1950-2009
The heraldry of the 45th Space Wing includes the 45th Bombardment Group. The 45th Bombardment Group’s heritage was added to the 45th Space Wing (through the 45th Operations Group) upon the latter’s activation on 12 November 1991. That action was required to give the Wing a numerical designation. In all other ways, it is an anachronism: the 45th Bombardment Group was constituted on 20 November 1940, but it was added to the Wing’s lineage more than half a century after the fact. Though the Group had no connection with the Eastern Range or the Wing earlier, it seems appropriate to mention the Group’s history and heraldry now.
The 45th Bombardment Group was activated under the 1st Air Force on 15 January 1941 at Savannah Air Base, Georgia. Initially, the Group was assigned three squadrons (the 78th, 79th, and 80th Bombardment Squadrons) to fly patrol and search missions off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. A fourth squadron (the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron) was attached to the Group on 15 January 1941. The 17th Reconnaissance Squadron was redesignated the 92nd Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 14 August 1941, and it was officially assigned to the Group on that date. The Group operated A-20, B-18, and DB-7 aircraft during its active service in 1941 and 1942. Following its assignment to Savannah, the Group moved to Manchester Air Base, New Hampshire on 18 June 1941. The unit transferred to Dover, Delaware on 16 May 1942, and it wrapped up its operations with a tour under the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command in Miami, Florida between 23 June and 8 December 1942. Lt. Colonel James E. Duke, Jr. commanded the Group from 15 January 1941 through 31 March 1941. His successor, Lt. Colonel George A. McHenry, served as Group Commander through August 1942. Lt. Colonel Charles W. Haas commanded the 45th Bombardment Group from September 1942 until the unit’s inactivation on 8 December 1942. The Group’s four squadrons went on to serve with the 26th Antisubmarine Wing and other bombardment groups later in World War II. Effective 12 November 1991, the Headquarters, 45th Bombardment Group (Medium) was redesignated the Headquarters, 45th Operations Group and assigned to Air Force Space Command. The Headquarters, 45th Operations Group was further assigned to the 45th Space Wing and activated at Patrick AFB on the same date.
The 45th Bombardment Group received no decorations during its active service in World War II, but it is credited with serving in the World War II Antisubmarine Campaign, American Theater of Operations. The Group’s original emblem (pictured here), approved on 6 January 1942, is a blue shield surmounted by a yellow border. Three aerial bombs, in yellow, symbolize the Group’s three flying squadrons and their antisubmarine warfare role. (The Group’s fourth flying squadron was assigned to the 45th after the emblem was proposed and put forward.) The Group’s motto, “DE ASTRA,” means “From the Stars”.
On 16 March 1951, the Long Range Proving Ground Division received official approval for the use of its emblem (left). A shield of azure blue was emblazoned with a long-range guided missile of argent silver, spouting a flaming tail of red and yellow hue. The blue represented the stratosphere and the guided missile, traveling with great speed and accuracy, denoted the mission of the Long Range Proving Ground Division.
On 30 June 1951, the Division was redesignated the Air Force Missile Test Center. No official action was taken with respect to changing or redesigning the emblem, but several unofficial variations (right) of the original emblem continued in use until a new emblem was approved for the Air Force Eastern Test Range on 19 July 1967.
Symbolizing the changes that had occurred on the Eastern Range over the previous 17 years, the new Air Force Eastern Test Range emblem (left) was a shield bordered in gold and divided into ultramarine blue and gold quadrants. Blue was used to symbolize the sky and space, and gold was used to symbolize the excellence required to conduct successful range operations.
Dividing the shield horizontally, across its right half, was a line of “Ts” representing continuous testing of space vehicles. In the center of the shield, a large aquamarine and light blue globe represented Earth. A smaller globe, in the same colors, symbolized the moon and other planets. Nine pimento red flight arrows indicated the normal equatorial departure routes for missiles and space vehicles on the Eastern Range. They also symbolized travel to other planets, as depicted by the smaller globe. Red was chosen for the flight arrows to indicate the stresses of launch and space flight and the heat of reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. A string of white “clouds” across the center of the large globe represented abnormal conditions weather and radiation with which range personnel had to contend. The cloud symbol was also interpreted as the string of radomes and theodolites located throughout the Eastern Range.
The Air Force Eastern Test Range’s emblem was used until the unit was inactivated on 1 February 1977. It was brought back into active use when the Eastern Space & Missile Center was activated on 1 October 1979. Only the scroll below the emblem (right) needed to be changed, but popular versions of the ESMC shield showed an unauthorized modification in the cloud symbol. Though there were several discussions about changing the emblem for the 45th Space Wing, the old AFETR shield continued as the Wing’s emblem with the “45th Space Wing” blazon attached. A new flag drawing, reflecting the revised blazon, was forwarded to the Wing on 1 October 1992.