2nd Airborne Command & Control Squadron

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In Memory

The need for a survivable SAC Command Post as a key component of adequate U.S. deterrence and security meshed well with the change in U.S. nuclear policy from massive retaliation to flexible response and its focus upon control of America's nuclear strike force during the trans- and early post-SIOP periods. The one likely survivable candidate was an airborne platform, and plans had been under consideration by SAC since late 1958 to test an airborne command post variant of the KC-135, with a desired operational capability by 1960.

On May 26, 1960, the first KC-135A (58-0022) began modification to an airborne command post configuration, and operational tests started two months later at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Five modified KC-135As assigned to the 34th AREFS were placed on ground alert and periodically tested to determine their ability to take off within 15 minutes. Once airborne, they would serve as an alternate command post, assuming primary control over the SAC combat force if (or, more appropriately, when) an enemy attack destroyed the underground facility at Offutt AFB and the other NAF command posts. On board each flight was a senior SAC officer (initially a colonel and eventually a general) - known as the Airborne Emergency Action Officer (AEAO) - who would take over command of the SIOP forces in the event communications were lost with the NCA and SAC headquarters.