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Topic: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-19 07:16:49 and read 10507 times.

Seeing how there are many ex SAC members on this board I thought I would try a general thread on anything SAC. The history, the planes, missiles and the people.

SAC was created in March 1946 as one of three major commands of the U.S. Army Air Forces and became a major command of the U.S. Air Force in September 1947(along with TAC and MATS). Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, built it into a combat-ready force with a peak strength in the late 1950s and early 1960s of 3,200 aircraft and 280,000 people. In the 1960s, aircraft strength dropped, offset by a force of 1,054 intercontinental ballistic missiles. On June 1, 1992, SAC and the JSTPS were replaced by a new unified command, USSTRATCOM. Forty six years seems like a short time in history but many men and woman and a lot of activity passed through during that time.

http://www.stratcom.mil/history/
http://www.strategicairandspace.com/

I just recently read a new book on Gen Curtis Lemay and still am amazed how he came from a humble beginning to a point of leading the most powerful force on the planet, Strategic Air Command.



An excellent read.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-19 08:34:40 and read 10485 times.

I was lucky to be part of the historical 509th Bomb Wing at Pease AFB NH. With FB-111A and KC-135A models while i was stationed there it was a great place to fly on and to watch these SAC Aircraft.



509th BMW patch

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/527936_433105843378630_990111057_n.jpg

A 509th BMW KC-135A

http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/182142_433099663379248_1915543359_n.jpg

A 509th BMW FB-111A

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: 135mech
Posted 2012-10-19 12:55:59 and read 10390 times.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 1):
I was lucky to be part of the historical 509th Bomb Wing at Pease AFB NH. With FB-111A and KC-135A models while i was stationed there it was a great place to fly on and to watch these SAC Aircraft

Windy95, did you know that Pease AFB is now partial active duty Tankers again? Part of the recent (last few years) restructuring retuned to get rid of having only supere-tanker bases. A lot of the bases that lost some of most of their tankers, when back to active duty! Pease, Seymore Johnson, Scott, March, and Hickam! They are all shared units again!

Just thought you'd like to hear!

135Mech

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: sonic67
Posted 2012-10-19 14:11:38 and read 10344 times.

I'm surprised that SAC did not need to employ more Bomber models over the years since it inspection in 1946..


SAC Bomber fleet

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: taxpilot
Posted 2012-10-19 15:33:56 and read 10308 times.

After my first operational assignment (C/EC 121 at McClellan), SAC was initialy a major shock to my system.

I signed into the 509th at Pease on day one of an ORI. When I asked "Whats an ORI?" The Ops Officer said go home and we willl call you next week.

Can't say I ever enjoyed the relentless alert duties. But I did become SACumcised. I loved flying the A model and our Tanker Task Force mission.   

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-20 06:55:08 and read 10186 times.

Quoting 135mech (Reply 2):
Windy95, did you know that Pease AFB is now partial active duty Tankers again?

Yes my ex room mate is still a flight chief for the Guard unit there along with several others who are still technicians in the unit.

Quoting taxpilot (Reply 4):
Can't say I ever enjoyed the relentless alert duties. But I did become SACumcised. I loved flying the A model and our Tanker Task Force mission.

I was on alert at Pease when they finally pulled the last alert bird. After 8 years of pulling constant alert duty it was odd seeing it go away in 1990.

Quoting sonic67 (Reply 3):
I'm surprised that SAC did not need to employ more Bomber models

The ability of the B-52 might off had much to do with that. Also toss in the ICBM force and the need for more bomber innovation might have been put on the back burner.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-20 07:23:08 and read 10172 times.

Was lucky enough to see four of those bombers fly. Wish I could of seen a B-58 roll down the runway. Watching the videos is just no the same.

http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/539069_452803804742167_1423744255_n.jpg

The B-1B

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/300407_280772575278625_445243207_n.jpg

The B-52G

http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/312222_282486308440585_1079381481_n.jpg

In cell with a SAC KC-10 over the Pacific on a Tanker Task Force mission

SAC's Tanker task Force missions spent most of their time refueling fighters and air lifters. For us they could be a busy time with many hours in the air and then working the aircraft on the ground. I remember this mission started for me at our home bas at Pease. First a cross country from Pease to March AFB in Riverside , CA. The next day we departed March with 9 KC-135A's and 3 KC-10 from March. The 135's had been a mix of aircraft from other bases like us on their way to Guam for their two month long TTF mission and the others had been from the unit at March. Each 135 had 180K of fuel on board and the 10's had their max load allowed for departure from March. Once airborne we headed east toward's Texas while three of the 135's topped off the KC-10's and then returned to March. We picked up the F-4 unit out of Moody AFB in Georgia and then turned and headed to Hickam AFB, HI. After an overnight in Hawaii and another heavy take off out of Hickam the 6 135's and the 3 KC-10's proceeded to drag the 12 F-4's to Guam and then on to Korea. When I think back about the effort involved in these missions and the amount of fuel that was used it still amazes me. The timing the effort and the resources was huge.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rc135x
Posted 2012-10-20 09:22:06 and read 10136 times.

Quoting windy95 (Thread starter):
I just recently read a new book on Gen Curtis Lemay and still am amazed how he came from a humble beginning to a point of leading the most powerful force on the planet, Strategic Air Command.

This is a fine general summary of material already in the public domain, much of which appeared in Coffey's Iron Eagle and from bits of other books. To date, there really is no definitive study of LeMay as CINCSAC and especially as CoS. The other CINCs are completely ignored.

Similarly, there is no single book on SAC that stands out. Lloyd's book is a good start, but it is short on research and interpretation, placing SAC in context.

SAC was a lot more than just bombers and ICBMs. Its ability to generate a sustained airborne command post enabled the US to change from a single nuclear reaction (which economist Hermann Kahn called "wargasm") to a selective nuclear response, as well as the ability to restrain nuclear war in the event of decapitation (the loss of the National Command Authorities). EC-135 and KC-135 airborne command posts made this possible because of their capacity and endurance.

SAC also developed its own internal reconnaissance fleet which it used to supplement other national sources. In light of the CIA U-2 it is easy to overlook SAC U-2s, RB-47s, RC-135s, and SR-71s. Indeed, during the 1950s SAC RB-47s conducted in excess of 150 direct overflights of the USSR, particularly Siberia, collecting invaluable PHOTINT and SIGINT which SAC used directly in planning its war missions. Until the advent of satellites, this was the only source of such invaluable information.

SAC also had a profound affect on life in the Air Force. LeMay championed better living conditions, and Senators Wherry and Capehart found the money for houses and dorms which still stand today and provided SAC personnel and their families decent places to live in a transient world. Despite his later reputation due to his association with George Wallace, LeMay strongly supported the 1947 integration of the military. In its later years, SAC became the avenue for women to become pilots and navigators and missileers, opening the gates for women in all aircraft and to see combat duty.

Still, SAC was never meant to be a permanent entity. I was literally sitting in the CINCSAC's chair in the SAC underground when then-President Bush announced on a national TV broadcast the end of SAC alert. Although many SAC veterans feel that the demise of SAC was poorly handled by CoS Tony McPeak and the "fighter mafia", the world was a different place. The need for a single organization---with deep financial pockets---to deter small nation-states and non-state actors (like al-Qaeda) no longer made sense.

Ultimately, SAC will be remembered as an air force within the Air Force. At its height it had missiles, bombers, tankers, fighters to protect them, transports to haul around their gear, an autonomous reconnaissance force, cross-service control of nuclear strike plans (SAC, not the AF, "owned" the SIOP), and was the single biggest budgetary recipient in DoD. That it was never used to execute its primary mission is moot testimony to its success.

edited---corrected mistype of SIGINT

[Edited 2012-10-20 09:27:38]

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-20 13:19:05 and read 10074 times.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 7):
Its ability to generate a sustained airborne command post enabled the US to change from a single nuclear reaction

I remember the first time refueling the 'Looking Glass" as a young airman and having the flight crew explain to me what it was. Seems like forever ago.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 7):
In light of the CIA U-2 it is easy to overlook SAC U-2s, RB-47s, RC-135s, and SR-71s. Indeed, during the 1950s SAC RB-47s conducted in excess of 150 direct overflights of the USSR, particularly Siberia, collecting invaluable PHOTINT and SIGINT which SAC used directly in planning its war mission

According to research published by the VFW, at least 382 U.S. service members were killed due to hostile fire during the "Cold War" [not including Korea and Vietnam].

Quoting rc135x (Reply 7):
. In its later years, SAC became the avenue for women to become pilots and navigators and missileers, opening the gates for women in all aircraft and to see combat duty.

In 1985 I was on a TDY with an all female crew on the 135. Not sure if it was the first for SAC but it would of been close to it. It was at an airshow/open house at Niagra Falls IAP. You would not believe the reaction to the public who walked through our aircraft and could not believe what they were seeing.

Sadly this was the last airshow for the Blue Angels with the A-4's. On the first day of the show the two solos collided during a maneuver right in front of our aircraft destroying both aircraft and killing one of the Pilot's. They went home the next day and came back the next season with the F-18's

Quoting rc135x (Reply 7):
This is a fine general summary of material already in the public domain, much of which appeared in Coffey's Iron Eagle and from bits of other books. To date, there really is no definitive study of LeMay as CINCSAC and especially as CoS. The other CINCs are completely ignored.

Sounds like you have much work ahead of you. Send me a signed copy when you are done.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: FSXJunkie
Posted 2012-10-20 20:52:12 and read 9924 times.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 7):
Still, SAC was never meant to be a permanent entity. I was literally sitting in the CINCSAC's chair in the SAC underground when then-President Bush announced on a national TV broadcast the end of SAC alert. Although many SAC veterans feel that the demise of SAC was poorly handled by CoS Tony McPeak and the "fighter mafia", the world was a different place. The need for a single organization---with deep financial pockets---to deter small nation-states and non-state actors (like al-Qaeda) no longer made sense.

SAC's destablishment was poorly handled in the sense that SAC made up 2/3rds of personnel and carried the bulk of the Air Force's political backing, What remained of the USAF as a whole after the bombers were gutted in the desert would but cut down another third over the next decade.

When the Soviet Union fell it didn't take nukes with it (Pakistan joined the club in '96, North Korea got'em recently, and Iran is bucking for it's own) but, when the USSR collapsed it took Communism with it (Flexible Response: To fight Communism through small but limited wars.) So the Army was deep poop.

...On that front keep in mind that SAC was a Specified Command of the DoD, in order to kill it you need the consensus of the Joint Chiefs.

What should McPeak have done? In the 19th Century the Navy had a problem simmilar to what the fighter run Air Force faced in the 80's and 90's. The Navy had this component called the Marine Corps, early wars against Barbary Pirates lead to this US Navy Marine Corps to grow quite large and it's culture started clashing with the USN 's primary sailing culture. The delima ultimately created was resolved by separating the Marines into a separate service retained with in the department of the Navy, this US Marine Corps would maintain it's historical missions with in the Navy and would share supporting functions with the Navy.

Given the way SAC was structured, the extent of it's autonomy, and the bitch of a time SAC was giving the fighter mafia in said mafia's efforts to remake the Air Force...SAC should've been separated along similar lines, as aseparate service retained under Department AF, maintains it's responsibilities within the AF, and shares supporting functions. The beauty of doing it this way if you are McPeak is that you get everything you wanted right down to the "airline pilot" service dress (Fogleman and everybody else afterward can't counter a damn thing because the Air Force MUST maintain a distinct identity from US-SAC.)

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-21 14:16:39 and read 9785 times.

I was a Boom Operator at Pease AFB, NH twice. 1978-1980 and 1985-1990. I served at both FB-111 wings being at Plattsburgh AFB, NY before I got to Pease in '78. Between my two tours at Pease, I was a CCTS Instructor at Castle AFB, CA, and finished my carrier at Carswell AFB, TX. Carswell was the worst assignment I ever had, the BUFF crews had no sense of humor.

Yes, I was a "SAC trained killer", and, as the FB guys called us, a "Tanker Toad".

SAC won the Cold War.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: fsnuffer
Posted 2012-10-21 16:09:13 and read 9733 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
I served at both FB-111 wings being at Plattsburgh AFB, NY before I got to Pease in '78


Any insight into the Plattsburg Pease rivalry. I was in AFROTC in upstate NY and heard lot of stories about a rivalry but did not know if that was just boasting. I did my tour in SAC at Offutt between 89 and 92 and was there for the shutdown. All I kept thinking was at least they had the decency to wait until LeMay passed away before doing it. I also remember being in the Command Center when we got a call from General Chain who was airborne on the, only he knew it, last Looking Glass mission. We got the radio call "Gentlemen, stand down Looking Glass". The relief Looking Glass crew taxied back to the stand and shut engines down. When the plane with General Chain landed, it was the first time in 29 years there was not a EC-135 on station over the US.

[Edited 2012-10-21 16:10:05]

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-21 17:54:52 and read 9697 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
I was a Boom Operator at Pease AFB, NH twice. 1978-1980 and 1985-1990




Then I am pretty sure that we went TDY or pulled Alert together since I was there from 85 to closing.

Quoting fsnuffer (Reply 11):
Any insight into the Plattsburg Pease rivalry. I was in AFROTC in upstate NY and heard lot of stories about a rivalry but did not know if that was just boasting.




The Pease tankers spent the summer of 85 at Plattsburgh while our runway was down for repairs. I also spent 3 or 4 days on alert on a Platsburgh Tanker when we had to evacuate Pease for Hurricane Gloria. Also spent tons of time TDY on TTF mission's with Platsburgh tanker crews and never really felt that there was a rivalry. Maybe more so for the 111/135 crews when it came to things like Bomb-Comp. If I remember right the 45th Air Division was made up of Loring, Griffis, Plattsburgh and Pease so we all fell under the same command.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: avnut43
Posted 2012-10-21 19:54:46 and read 9664 times.

I just want to pass this along for any fans of the Jimmy Stewart film "Strategic Air Command", if they are interested the soundtrack is now available at Screen Archives Entertainment. It is a good period film.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-22 05:12:54 and read 9566 times.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 12):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):I was a Boom Operator at Pease AFB, NH twice. 1978-1980 and 1985-1990



Then I am pretty sure that we went TDY or pulled Alert together since I was there from 85 to closing.

I'm pretty sure we did. I was the 509th Air Refueling SquadronFirst sgt. in '86 and '87 and was also the wing tanker/bomber scheduler. Drop me a line on the IM here.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 12):
Quoting fsnuffer (Reply 11):Any insight into the Plattsburg Pease rivalry. I was in AFROTC in upstate NY and heard lot of stories about a rivalry but did not know if that was just boasting.



The Pease tankers spent the summer of 85 at Plattsburgh while our runway was down for repairs. I also spent 3 or 4 days on alert on a Platsburgh Tanker when we had to evacuate Pease for Hurricane Gloria. Also spent tons of time TDY on TTF mission's with Platsburgh tanker crews and never really felt that there was a rivalry. Maybe more so for the 111/135 crews when it came to things like Bomb-Comp. If I remember right the 45th Air Division was made up of Loring, Griffis, Plattsburgh and Pease so we all fell under the same command.

The Pease and Plattsburgh Tanker crews got along very well. P'Burgh had the 310th and 380th Air Refueling Squdron, we had the 509th and the Pease Tanker Task Force, which moved to P'Burgh (for a few years) as Pease was closing. The main compitition was between the FB-111 crews, although it was a friendly rivalry. Now Bomb Comp was a very different story. The first objective of the FB-111 crews was to beat the B-52 crews, then it was dog eat dog between the Pease Bomber crews and the Plattsburgh Bomber crews. IIRC, the 380th Bomb Wing won 4 Fairchild Trophies, and the 509th won 3.

We tanker crews at both wings used to tease the bomber crews by telling them the FB-111s were stationed at Pease and Plattsburgh so they could complete a one way, non-air refueling strike mission against Montreal   

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: bhill
Posted 2012-10-22 11:47:42 and read 9492 times.

Windy95...when you mean "pull", were the fighters linked to the takers all the way accoss the ocean? i.e. you were the "online fuel tank?" Seems a tad bit dangerous. Or was it safer to just stay liked up rather that having to re-engage when the fuel ran low?

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rwessel
Posted 2012-10-22 12:07:48 and read 9481 times.

Quoting bhill (Reply 15):
Windy95...when you mean "pull", were the fighters linked to the takers all the way accoss the ocean? i.e. you were the "online fuel tank?" Seems a tad bit dangerous. Or was it safer to just stay liked up rather that having to re-engage when the fuel ran low?

It's just a bit of slang - they don't leave the fighters hooked up for the entire trip (and in fact there'd usually be several). But basically you'd have a tanker or three with a gaggle of fighters following them, rotating on and off the booms as needed. But metaphorically, the tankers would be "pulling" the fighters across the ocean. Also sometimes "drag," as in "drag the fighters across..."

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-22 12:47:59 and read 9456 times.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 16):
rwessel

Almost correct. For fighter drags, there are scheduled refuelings, no matter how small the offload may be. In some cases I only offloaded a few hundred pounds of fuel to each fighter, other times it was few thousand pounds. The fighters had to keep enough fuel aboard to reach the nearest suitable alternate airport. This was called "BINGO" fuel. If a fighter had to divert, another fighter would go with him, or one tanker and all the fighters assigned to tha tanker would go, depending on what the reason for the divert was.

If a fighter ever had to ditch, a tanker would be assigned to stay over him flying cap. If needed we would depressurize, open the aft hatch and drop the 20 man raft to him from low altitude and as slow an airspeed as possible. The 20 man raft had more survival equipment than the seat kit and one man raft did. The tanker would talk to the guys in the water over UHF Guard (243.0 MHz) and coordinate a rescue with the USN, USCG, or the closest ship. The tanker would stay until the tanker hit BINGO fuel before departing, or rescue forces were on-scene.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: moose135
Posted 2012-10-22 13:20:19 and read 9438 times.

Speaking of Pease and fighter drags...I spent a week there in the spring of 1987 (so Windy and TopBoom were both there as well!) We flew in from Grissom, heading to a TDY with the European Tanker Task Force. We were supposed to meet up with a KC-10 and a gaggle of F-4s out of Seymour-Johnson, but for four days it was the same thing - brief at O'Dark Thirty, preflight, then sit in the cockpit for an hour until they decided that the weather wasn't going to clear at the en-route alternates, and scrub for the day. We were staying in a motel in town, and they would just give us back our old rooms each morning. We did get to see a Red Sox game from the bleachers at Fenway (our Nav was a Boston native) and took a drive up the Maine coast another day. We eventually dragged them across and made it to Mildenhall.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-22 16:41:42 and read 9361 times.

Yeah, we flew a lot of the PTTF missions. They also planned our Volent Boom missions, AWACS and RC-135 deployment missions, which we had a lot of too. Loring, Plattsburgh, and Griffiss also did several of these types of missions. The 4 active duty bases (5 squadrons of KC-135A/Q), plus the NHANG, MEANG, NJANG, and PAANG all had KC-135Es and did a lot of work too. The NE US corrridor needed a lot of tankers.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-23 14:04:50 and read 9155 times.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 16):
Quoting bhill (Reply 15):Windy95...when you mean "pull", were the fighters linked to the takers all the way accoss the ocean? i.e. you were the "online fuel tank?" Seems a tad bit dangerous. Or was it safer to just stay liked up rather that having to re-engage when the fuel ran low?
It's just a bit of slang - they don't leave the fighters hooked up for the entire trip (and in fact there'd usually be several). But basically you'd have a tanker or three with a gaggle of fighters following them, rotating on and off the booms as needed. But metaphorically, the tankers would be "pulling" the fighters across the ocean. Also sometimes "drag," as in "drag the fighters across..."

Correct the slang was dragging fighters. I believe I used the word "pull" for alert. Another use of slang. We did not go to alert or work alert we "pulled" it.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
In some cases I only offloaded a few hundred pounds of fuel to each fighter, other times it was few thousand pounds. The fighters had to keep enough fuel aboard to reach the nearest suitable alternate airport. This was called "BINGO" fuel

Had a few Atlantic crossings with F-15's with their drop tanks and we only had to top them off once on the way into the UK. Now and F-4 or a A-10 it seemed like they had been constantly rotating off the boom.

Maybe someone else knows but why did all the A-10 drags to Europe and back go through Lajes Field?

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-23 14:10:42 and read 9153 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
If a fighter ever had to ditch, a tanker would be assigned to stay over him flying cap.

Which is why we went with EF-111, FB-111's and the F-15's across the Atlantic even though they did not need the fuel with drop tanks. Made for a quick crossing though.

Someone else might remember this also but on some of the big deployments they sent a TAC 135 that was used as a command post along. It might of been the CINC TAC bird out of Langley. I remember that on a few of the ETTF's.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: moose135
Posted 2012-10-23 14:11:14 and read 9153 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
Yes, I was a "SAC trained killer", and, as the FB guys called us, a "Tanker Toad".

Keeping the BX safe for democracy!

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: 135mech
Posted 2012-10-23 14:52:05 and read 9145 times.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 8):
Quoting rc135x (Reply 7):
This is a fine general summary of material already in the public domain, much of which appeared in Coffey's Iron Eagle and from bits of other books. To date, there really is no definitive study of LeMay as CINCSAC and especially as CoS. The other CINCs are completely ignored.


Sounds like you have much work ahead of you. Send me a signed copy when you are done.

I'll definitely take a copy!  
Quoting windy95 (Reply 20):
Maybe someone else knows but why did all the A-10 drags to Europe and back go through Lajes Field?

I believe it's because of the extensively SLOW pace. My last TATL fighter drag (hehe) was A-10's [2 years ago]; and because of their 240kias max speed... we and they, burn so much fuel getting there and it takes so long to do it. If you remember, we're near stalling and they are screaming the whole way. Also as you said, A-10's are regularly hitting you up for a top-off and Lajes is the safe and logical mid-way stop. It took several days (of course with them breaking) to get them to Sicily.

Cheers,
135Mech

[Edited 2012-10-23 14:52:39]

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-23 15:02:05 and read 9141 times.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 20):
Maybe someone else knows but why did all the A-10 drags to Europe and back go through Lajes Field?

The refueling airspeed for the A-10s (and C-130s) was very low. So we and the receivers had to land at Lajas AB as we would all run out of crew duty day before we got to Europe. These missions were always '0 dark 30 briefings, preflights and take-offs, and put us into Lajas about 10-12 hours later, which turned into a 16+ hour day by the time we debriefed, maintenance debriefed, cleared Portgual Customs, got to billeting, then hit the club.

Quoting moose135 (Reply 22):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):Yes, I was a "SAC trained killer", and, as the FB guys called us, a "Tanker Toad".
Keeping the BX safe for democracy!

Yeap......the 'commies' never got close to any BX......

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rc135x
Posted 2012-10-23 18:14:06 and read 9206 times.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 21):
Someone else might remember this also but on some of the big deployments they sent a TAC 135 that was used as a command post along. It might of been the CINC TAC bird out of Langley. I remember that on a few of the ETTF's.

These were Tactical Air Command EC-135K HEAD DANCER airborne command posts (55-3118---the first KC-135 built and preserved at Tinker AFB, OK; 59-1518; and 62-3536 which crashed at Kirtland AFB, NM, on 14 Sep 77). There was also a single Strike Command KC-135A 61-0316 which served sometimes in this role, as well as duties as a VIP transport (it burned to destruction at Cairo West AB on 19 Mar 85).

The mission of these airborne command posts was to coordinate the trans-oceanic flight, provide trouble-shooting assistance in case of emergency, liaise with divert bases and other duties requiring communications resources. The airplanes had extensive radio suites and functioned just like a ground-based command post.

Quoting bhill (Reply 15):
Windy95...when you mean "pull", were the fighters linked to the takers all the way accoss the ocean? i.e. you were the "online fuel tank?" Seems a tad bit dangerous. Or was it safer to just stay liked up rather that having to re-engage when the fuel ran low?
Quoting rwessel (Reply 16):
But basically you'd have a tanker or three with a gaggle of fighters following them, rotating on and off the booms as needed. But metaphorically, the tankers would be "pulling" the fighters across the ocean. Also sometimes "drag," as in "drag the fighters across..."

There were a couple of notable exceptions when the tanker actually did, quite literally, drag the fighter to safety. On 5 Sep 83 during a CRESTED CAP I F-4 deployment, a KC-135A from the 42nd BW at Loring AFB, ME, escorted an emergency F-4E diverting to Gander IAP, Newfoundland, Canada. The F-4E had lost an engine, was constantly in need of fuel, and at times was only 2,000 feet above the ocean. With the boom in place, the tanker "towed" the F-4E to safety. The tanker crew received the prestigious Mackay Trophy awarded for the "most meritorious flight of the year."

Quoting windy95 (Reply 20):
Correct the slang was dragging fighters. I believe I used the word "pull" for alert. Another use of slang. We did not go to alert or work alert we "pulled" it.

You remember correctly!

Quoting windy95 (Reply 8):
Sounds like you have much work ahead of you. Send me a signed copy when you are done.

LOL! Originally this was going to be my dissertation, but certain archives were closed at the time and the study became impractical. Instead I wrote "U.S. Strategic Aerial Reconnaissance and the Cold War, 1945-1961."

edited----correct omission of award

[Edited 2012-10-23 18:17:16]

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rc135x
Posted 2012-10-23 20:53:37 and read 9158 times.

Quoting FSXJunkie (Reply 9):
SAC should've been separated along similar lines, as aseparate service retained under Department AF, maintains it's responsibilities within the AF, and shares supporting functions.

I believe my disagreement here is that the dissolution of SAC was a correct choice. SAC's mission no longer existed with the demise of a mirror image nuclear strike capability of the Soviet Union, and SAC assets could be reallocated to other commands capable of fulfilling the remaining mission tasking. There was no need to split SAC into a separate entity (as you suggest with the USMC and the USN) because there was no longer a need for SAC.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-24 07:51:00 and read 9160 times.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 26):
Quoting FSXJunkie (Reply 9):SAC should've been separated along similar lines, as aseparate service retained under Department AF, maintains it's responsibilities within the AF, and shares supporting functions.
I believe my disagreement here is that the dissolution of SAC was a correct choice. SAC's mission no longer existed with the demise of a mirror image nuclear strike capability of the Soviet Union, and SAC assets could be reallocated to other commands capable of fulfilling the remaining mission tasking. There was no need to split SAC into a separate entity (as you suggest with the USMC and the USN) because there was no longer a need for SAC.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you, rc135x. SAC's mission has never gone away. SAC's demise was pure politics of the 'fighter mafia'. The US kept the ICBMs and SSBN, as well as a bomber fleet with a nuclear mission, even to this day. The emergence of the "Global Strike Command" is essentially SAC reborn.

SAC's reemergence as GSC proves that AFCOS General Merrill McPeak was wrong. McPeak "reorangized the USAF" from the ground up. He put the fighter command (TAC) in charge of the bomber force and the airlift command (MAC) incharge of most of the tanker force. McPeak even changed the uniform to look more like a Navy uniform than a Blue Army uniform, with those stripes on the bottom of the officer's sleeves. McPeak was a fighter pilot (and once flew for the Thunderbirds), a card carrying member of the fighter mafia, and when he combined SAC and TAC, he kept the TAC patch for the new ACC, and religated the proud SAC patch to a sub command, he also kept the MAC patch for the new AMC. McPeak's personal hatered of SAC, and of bombers is well documented. He was the driving force behind redesignating the FB-111A to the F-111G (McPeak had flown the F-111E). He also oversaw the early retirement of the SR-71, and about 35 B-1Bs. McPeak was a "professional staff officer".

There has not been a bomber pilot as AFCOS since Gen. Lew Allen retired in 1982. I don't think there has ever been a recce pilot to ever have been AFCOS, but I could be wrong.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rc135x
Posted 2012-10-24 16:43:33 and read 9023 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 27):
There has not been a bomber pilot as AFCOS since Gen. Lew Allen retired in 1982. I don't think there has ever been a recce pilot to ever have been AFCOS, but I could be wrong.

This is somewhat misleading, as there were Chiefs prior to LeMay with fighter experience and afterward as well. Although bomber-background chiefs had a long tenure during the height of the cold war, this was the result of both seniority and the U.S. emphasis on strategic operations instead of tactical missions rather than some entrenched organizational prejudice.

Allen had minimal flight operations experience with B-29s and B-36s, I believe, and spent his entire career in AF science billets. He was chief at AF Systems Command and his selection as Chief represented the AF focus on new project acquisition and development.

There was *almost* a Chief of Staff with a real reconnaissance background, CINCTAC General Jerome F. "Jerry" O'Malley. As you know he was an SR-71 pilot and later wing commander, as well as RF-4 combat and command duties. He was next in line to become Chief when he and his wife (plus the crew) of his T-39 were killed when it crashed at Wilkes-Barre AP, PA, on 20 Apr 85. His death substantially altered the AF succession plans, and Gen Larry Welch left his job as CINCSAC to become the AF CoS in 1986.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rc135x
Posted 2012-10-24 17:19:22 and read 9020 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 27):
SAC's mission has never gone away. SAC's demise was pure politics of the 'fighter mafia'. The US kept the ICBMs and SSBN, as well as a bomber fleet with a nuclear mission, even to this day. The emergence of the "Global Strike Command" is essentially SAC reborn.

I respectfully submit that this is wrong.

SAC has long been synonymous with U.S. strategic nuclear doctrine, which was---as a matter of national policy and priority---the deterrence of communist aggression against the United States and its key allies through the threat of nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. This was first articulated under President Truman and endorsed by President Eisenhower, who held a low opinion of tactical operations. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. national security policy changed dramatically from nuclear deterrence to conventional theater war fighting. With this new national priority, SAC had no mission and was no longer needed in its extant role.

Maintaining the ICBM and SLBM forces provided the necessary nuclear deterrent to PRC, a revanchist Russian Federation, and potential nuclear club members.

Remember that the Clinton Administration held strongly negative views toward nuclear policy and the calculus of nuclear deterrence. No AF Chief of Staff can act as McPeak did without strong DoD and NCA support, tacit or otherwise, of his actions. Indeed, McPeak was simply carrying out the change in U.S. nuclear policy articulated by President Clinton and his Secretary of Defense Les Aspin.

Global Strike Command is nothing whatsoever like SAC ever was. GSC is a caretaker organization for nuclear assets and weapons in the aftermath of the gross mishandling of nuclear weapons in 2007-08. GSC is not commanded by a CINC, has no predelegation authority as did CINCSAC or STRATCOM's commander, has no seat at the table in the planning and development of the SIOP, and has no organic tanker or reconnaissance support, all hallmarks of SAC's absolute dominance of Air Force operations.

However much McPeak deserves the opprobrium of the SAC community for his handling of the dissolution of SAC and changes to the Air Force, they had nothing at all to do with the change in U.S. national security policy from global nuclear deterrence to regional and theater war fighting. DESERT STORM showed the future of warfare and SAC was a bystander with its tankers, B-52s, and reconnaissance assets fragged to Gen Chuck Horner at CENTAF in Riyadh.

Those who served in SAC can take great pride in what they accomplished and that they never had to execute their "red book" EWO mission.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-25 05:05:08 and read 8907 times.

"Nobody Wins a Nuclear War" But "Success" is Possible
Mixed Message of 1950s Air Force Film on a U.S.-Soviet Conflict

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 336

Quote:
"The Power of Decision" may be the first (and perhaps the only) U.S. government film depicting the Cold War nightmare of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear conflict. The U.S. Air Force produced it during 1956-1957 at the request of the Strategic Air Command.
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb336/index.htm

It is six reels each about 10 minutes long. It is a real good look at the history.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-25 05:33:04 and read 8918 times.

The 135 Graveyard.. What a sad sight

http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/552386_512716068739769_2002258783_n.jpg

A variety of 135 models in this picture.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rc135x
Posted 2012-10-25 08:10:34 and read 8850 times.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 30):
"Nobody Wins a Nuclear War" But "Success" is Possible
Mixed Message of 1950s Air Force Film on a U.S.-Soviet Conflict

During the 1950s some U.S. policy makers and a large portion of the general public considered nuclear war possible, if not probable. A few even believed it was inevitable. Broadly speaking, they fell into these categories:

***Avoid nuclear war at any cost, ranging from peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union to total surrender ("Better Red than Dead")
***Fight a nuclear war only if the Soviet Union attacked the United States with nuclear weapons, not if NATO or Japan were attacked ("They are not worth more American blood")
***Fight a nuclear war if the Soviet Union attacks the United States or invades Western Europe or Japan (the "Tripwire" scenario)
***Given the inevitability and uncertainty of outcome of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, it is better to start such a war while the United States had clear nuclear superiority over the Soviet Union ("Preventive Nuclear War")

Note that there was (and is) a distinction between First Strike (the U.S. launches a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union before any Soviet launch of missiles or bombers) and Pre-emptive Strike (the U.S. launches a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union on warning/detection of Soviet launch). The U.S. policy of "No First Strike" effectively eliminated the Preventive Nuclear War scenario.

SAC's commander Gen LeMay is often identified with the Preventive Nuclear War argument. LeMay did not desire war with the Soviet Union, but believed it was highly likely, if not inevitable. Despite this, SAC was never in a position to launch a nuclear strike without the approval of the President of the United States or his legally designated successor. By 1957 President Eisenhower had approved a detailed longstanding predelegation process whereby SAC or other designated leaders could launch a retaliatory attack against the Soviet Union or use nuclear weapons in defense of the United States (e.g., atomic-tipped missiles against bombers) if and only if the President or his successors were incommunicado or deceased.

It is worth noting that the idea of "winning" a nuclear war was relative. LeMay, for example, held no illusions about the global environmental impact of a nuclear war or the impact of the global political economy. However he believed that 80% losses to the Soviet Union and 20% losses to the United States was a far better outcome than reversing the situation or equal devastation of both countries, hence his willingness to consider Preventive Nuclear War.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rc135x
Posted 2012-10-25 08:18:06 and read 8861 times.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 31):
A variety of 135 models in this picture.

In addition to the many KC-135A "buck tankers" in the photo, there are a number of "white top" EC-135s from the SAC Post Attack Command and Control System (PACCS) mission, an all-white VIP transport, an AF Systems Command testbed, and two Boeing 707 trainers, one for the U.S. Navy E-6 community and one for the E-3 community.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-25 09:38:45 and read 8836 times.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 29):
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. national security policy changed dramatically from nuclear deterrence to conventional theater war fighting. With this new national priority, SAC had no mission and was no longer needed in its extant role.

Actually, SAC had extensive plans, and experience with conventional warfare. We dropped millions of "iron bombs" during the Vietnam War, and thousands more in Desert Storm.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 29):
Remember that the Clinton Administration held strongly negative views toward nuclear policy and the calculus of nuclear deterrence. No AF Chief of Staff can act as McPeak did without strong DoD and NCA support, tacit or otherwise, of his actions. Indeed, McPeak was simply carrying out the change in U.S. nuclear policy articulated by President Clinton and his Secretary of Defense Les Aspin.

Actuall, McPeak began his tour as COSAF under President Bush (41) on 30 October 1990, after SecDef Dick Cheney fired Gen. Dugan because he couldn't keep his mouth shut during the Desert Shield build-up (Gen. Loe the VCOSAF served in the interium COSAF until McPeak was confirmed by the US Senate). It was President Bush who ordered the stand down of the SAC Alert Force in October 1991. That was when McPeak began planning the stand down of SAC, which he accomplished on 1July 1992, just over 6 months BEFORE President Clinton took office. McPeak completed his full COS tour (1460 days) under Clinton. He was also the only Military Officer to actually head a Military Department, when he was appointed the Acting SecAF, by Clinton, from 1 July 1993 until 5 August 1993 until Sheila Widnall was confirmed by the Senate, 197 days after Clinton was sworn in.

But we can agree to disagree on why SAC was disestablished, and who did it, my friend.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 31):
The 135 Graveyard.. What a sad sight



A variety of 135 models in this picture.

                 

Quoting rc135x (Reply 29):
Those who served in SAC can take great pride in what they accomplished and that they never had to execute their "red book" EWO mission.



Yes, we can, my friend.   

We stood toe to toe with the Ruskies, ready for nuclear combat, and they blinked.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sl...kens_riding-the-bomb_enh-lores.jpg

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: windy95
Posted 2012-10-25 13:28:45 and read 8775 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 34):
Actually, SAC had extensive plans, and experience with conventional warfare. We dropped millions of "iron bombs" during the Vietnam War, and thousands more in Desert Storm.

I think the difference is though that these missions which would also include Korea where not actual SAC missions but groups pulled from SAC and fell under the command of others. In none of these wars was SAC lead by the CINC asked to go to war as a fighting unit with the sole goal of destroying the enemy in the Total war concept that Lemay was a proponent of and for which it was created for. In all of these conflicts they had been sent out piecemeal to be under the command of others for Tactical purposes. During the Korean war Lemay was not pleased that SAC assett's had been siphoned off from their primary mission of SIOP. LeMay expressed concern that “too many splinters were being whittled off the stick”, preventing him from being able to carry out his primary mission of strategic deterrence.

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: 135mech
Posted 2012-10-25 14:13:26 and read 8783 times.

Quoting rc135x (Reply 25):
55-3118---the first KC-135 built and preserved at Tinker AFB, OK

Unfortunately this bird has been "poled" and is sitting with a pole up her A** propped up at rotation angle with NO nose support at the front gate of McConnell AFB, KS. They screwed it up and did NOT retire her as she last flew... Put a boom back on her, AND put J-57's back on it! So sad to see, and she does not seem to be cared for very well.

I almost had tears when I first saw it this way!                     

135Mech

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-10-27 13:44:38 and read 8542 times.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA--...d=223b0fb51b21b62779f7c571e0dbbd9c

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: rwy04lga
Posted 2012-11-25 10:59:00 and read 7747 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 34):
We stood toe to toe with the Ruskies, ready for nuclear combat, and they blinked.

Truly, by every measure...Mission Accomplished!!

Some 'SAC' moments in my history....Dad (former POW in Germany) flew B-29s and B-47s out of Goose Bay and Thule on TDY from MacDill. As a CAP cadet, I flew in a KC-135 (58-0045) out of Plattsburgh, and within the last few months, I checked in LTC Paul W. Tibbets IV on a Delta flight to ATL. With him was 5 year old PWT V!!

Topic: RE: Strategic Air Command Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-11-25 15:33:26 and read 7626 times.

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 38):
As a CAP cadet, I flew in a KC-135 (58-0045) out of Plattsburgh

When was that? 58-0045 was one of our KC-135Qs. I was assigned to the 310th AREFS at P'Burgh from 1974 to 1978, then moved to the 509th AREFS at Pease.

I met PWT Sr. while I was at Pease. He came up there a few times. Great guy. His son, PWT IV flies B-2 bombers for the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman, now.


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