The Legacy of the strategic air command 1946 – 1992
During the Cold War, a “major command” of the United States Air Force was given the task of providing long-range striking power worldwide in an effort to help “keep the peace”. The Strategic Air Command, at one point fielding thousands of nuclear weapons had one specific goal exemplified in their motto “Peace Is Our Profession”
Possessing a striking power of hundreds of long-range bombers and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles – SAC provided two legs of the American nuclear-triad
Their goal was simple, prevent another world war through demonstrating strong American resolve worldwide in the face of foreign aggression
From Maine to Florida, California to Alaska – Bomber aircraft such as the B-29, B-47, B-58, B-52, B-1 and B-2 were based near runways. Many often on 15-minute ground alert status.
“Down in the silos” Atlas, Titan, Minuteman and Peacekeeper missiles stood as silent sentinels across much of the American heartland
Being enlisted or an officer within the Strategic Air Command demanded discipline, dedication and sometimes even luck.
command and control
General Curtis E. LeMay was legendary throughout the command, perhaps the only thing more legendary was SAC’s strive to provide command and communications before, during and after a nuclear attack.
Throughout the Cold War (but especially after 1957), SAC worked to maintain nuclear weapons on constant alert. Bombers that could take off within 15 minutes warning and missiles that could fire within a few minutes provided pause to foreign aggressors with attempting a “sneak attack”.
A third world war would have had dire effects for both superpowers as well as the rest of the world. SAC unleashed to deliver its nuclear weaponry would have caused unimaginable devastation. It’s goal was to provide the threat of force, but hopefully never to use it unless called upon by the President of the United States.
We invite you along for the long journey ahead to document and preserve the history of the Strategic Air Command.