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Trailrider #896

Movies about SAC

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Just got through watching "Strategic Air Command" with Jimmy Stewart and June Allison, and Frank Lovejoy as "General Hawks", a great portrayal of "Old Iron A$$", himself, Curtis Lemay; and "A Gathering of Eagles" starring Rock Hudson.  Strategic Air Command is a great movie about the early days of SAC, with Stewart as a recalled reservist LTC, with June as his wife.  The aerial scenes of the B-36 with the background music are something else!  Add in the B-47's and you have something to choke up anyone who ever flew anything!  They even snuck in the old saw where an airman says to "Col. Dutch Holland", "The general's cigar...does he want that plane to explode?" Whereupon, the colonel replies, "It wouldn't dare!":rolleyes: I think I heard that story from my first days in USAFROTC.   As far as "A Gathering of Eagles" is concerned, it deals with the tension and "terror" that a SAC wing commander faced when a no-notice operational readiness inspection (ORI) hits the base.  Although I was never that high up in the chain of command at a missile base, I can attest to having to sit on six rings of the phone in case I was called into the maintenance section.  SAC wing commanders should have (and current commanders probably should, too) draw hazardous duty pay.  We lost our wing commander when he dropped dead in the doctor's office with his third heart attack! :o  As far as the movie is concerned, it was well-portrayed of a later period, when missiles (in this case Titan I ICBM's) were on alert, and the aircraft were B-52's...with the older, smokier jet engines.  Dang script was right out of SAC Manual 66-12.   

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I served in the Air Force, stationed at a SAC base in upper Michigan, K. I. Sawyer in early 60's. Lots of B52's and KC135 tankers. Was on actual alert during missel crisis. Our commander was Curtis Lemay, cigar and all. I found out later in life that my Dad served under Lemay in the European theater in teh 8th Air Force

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My dad retired out of Castle as the Base Sgt. Major.  Much of Bomber's B-52 was filmed there in the 50's.

BOMBERS B-52 (1957) WEB SITE

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The Air Force very much resembles a military organization.

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I was in SAC when I came back from the ETO in '58 for my last 6 months before discharge. WOW did they ever work on trying to get you to re-enlist. I wasn't on a flight crew but the re-enlistment officer 'promised' me E-5 if I signed up. I told him give me E-5 and I would re-enlist. Flight crews made rank as soon as they had time in grade. The Air Police not so much. I was separated as an E-4 in June 1958.

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In the late '60's it was tough to get enlisted personnel in SAC missiles promoted.  I had an A1C (E-4) who was my assistant team chief on a targeting team, for whom I had his evaluations off the right side of the page!  Could not get him promoted due to the slots available for Ballistic Missile Analyst  Technician (BMAT...aka "brooms, mops and assorted trash :rolleyes:) being full.  Finally got him another stripe when he was transferred to Plans & Scheduling.  Sadly, after I finished my tour, I heard he was killed in a motorcycle crash! :(  R.I.P. Ron. :FlagAm: 

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