Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Strategic Air Command (21-25)

SAC 75 #21 The SAC insignia; the blue sky representing Air Force operations, the arm and amour being the symbol of strength, power, and loyalty. The olive branch being a symbol of peace with the lightning flashes representing speed and power; all these were the qualities that drove SAC missions. SAC existed for four years before the insignia was adopted. Coming from a competition judged by LGEN LeMay, BGEN Power, and BGEN Kissner, Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes’s design was chosen over 59 other entries and made official on 4 January 1952, thus creating the symbol to be recognized around the world. SAC 75 #22 In 1951 SAC saw some organizational changes that included the establishment of Air Divisions. The first five divisions (4th, 6th, 12th, 14th, and 47th) were organized at bases in the United States. SAC created the 5th Air Division to be headquartered in Rabat, French Morocco and ...
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Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Strategic Air Command (16-20)

SAC 75 #16 In 1923 two Airco SH-4B biplanes completed the first mid-air refueling and by 1935 the grappled-line looped-hose air-to-air refueling took place. Following World War II the USAAF began fitting some B-29s with the looped-hose units and testing in-flight re-fuelings. Strategic Air Command’s first Air Refueling Squadrons; 43rd and 509th; were established on 18 June 1948 at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ and Roswell AFB, NM respectfully. They would receive their aircraft; converted B-29s designated KB-29Ms; later that year. SAC 75 #17 After seeing the dismal performance in the simulated bombing mission over Wright-Patterson AFB, LGEN LeMay push his crews hard, nearly to the breaking point. In a bold move to increase crew stability and proficiency as well as reward outstanding combat crew performance, LGEN LeMay received special permission to award “spot-promotions”. Following the October 1949 SAC Bombing Competition and seeing marked improvement, LeMay promoted on 20 December, 237 aircraft ...
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Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Strategic Air Command (11-15)

SAC 75 #11 When SAC was created it was originally headquartered at Bolling Field, Washington DC but quickly moved to Andrews Field, Maryland. With it’s coastal location vulnerable to bomber attack it was prevalent that SAC Headquarters (aka Command Center) be better positioned to survive a first strike bomber assault. At 0100 on 9 November 1948 SAC Headquarters transferred from Andrews AFB to Offutt AFB, NE. The new HQ was housed in the modest Building A of the WWII Martin Bomber Plant Complex. SAC 75 #12 When LGEN LeMay took over SAC it was already believed that piloting and navigational skills tightened during WWII had atrophied amidst unrealistic bomber training. In January 1949 LeMay ordered a radar scored bomb run over Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Since he already knew that SAC crews lacked current reconnaissance photos and maps, LeMay had crews issued three year old maps and photos of the Dayton, ...
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Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Strategic Air Command (6-10)

SAC 75 #6 Following conflicts between the east and west over Berlin, the Soviet Union cut access into West Berlin. In late June SAC ordered a 301st , Bomb Group squadron equipped with B-29s to remain in Germany where they had been training and moved the two other B-29 squadrons of the 301st to Goose Bay AB, Labrador. SAC’s 28th and 307th Bomb Groups were placed on less than 12-hour alert with the rest of SAC placed on 24-hour alert. All this action was in anticipation of defending West Berlin and West Germany from a communist invasion. The invasion did not come and the allies instituted an air lift to keep the city alive and free. SAC 75 #7 When Strategic Air Command was created at the controller of atomic weapons it not only inherited bombers, reconnaissance, and other support aircraft, it also inherited escort fighters. Initially SAC had squadrons ...
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Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Strategic Air Command (1-5)

This year, the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum celebrates 75 years! To honor the men and women of Strategic Air Command, our Curator, Brian York has compiled a “look back” at the people, places and moments that made Strategic Air Command a force for peace with “75 Days of SAC.” Beginning on June 1, 2020, a daily #SAC75 post has been featured on our Museum Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. We understand that not everyone imbibes on social media, so before our summer celebration of Strategic Air Command is a wrap, we wanted to feature some of these posts in our #CuriousCurator Blog. SAC 75 #1 Established on March 21, 1946, Strategic Air Command (SAC) became one of three commands dedicated to the establishment of air superiority in the world. Tasked with long range strategic bombing, Strategic Air Command was built from the air superiority of World War II ...
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F-117 Nighthawk

Museum Welcomes Next Chapter in Stealth Story

For the first time in 15 years, the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum will welcome a new aircraft to its collection. An F-117 “Nighthawk” stealth bomber will arrive at the Museum in early March. Developed by the Lockheed Corporation, the F-117 “Nighthawk” gained worldwide attention for its role during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. The F-117 fleet included 64 aircraft, which the U.S. Air Force retired in 2008.  “When we were informed this F-117 would become available, we jumped at the chance to continue at collecting Cold War artifacts,” Museum Executive Director, Jeff Cannon explains, “The F-117 is a bookend in our collection as it helped to usher-in the end of the Cold War. It represents a huge innovation leap that started with our SR-71 and U2.” The F-117, which will be displayed at the museum was a part of the “Nighthawk” testing and evaluation program. Holding the ...
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Snow_Post

Project Snowbound and Strategic Air Command

Throughout the Cold War, Strategic Air Command trained for all scenarios in all types of terrain and climate. Thousands of SAC warriors can probably relate many winter snow storm stories of being on the flight line doing maintenance, security and alert flights not to mention missileers and communications in the remote areas. But today makes me think of a particular snow storm or rather a series of snow storms from the winter of 1948/1949. Retelling from Nebraska History.gov; it all started on November 19, 1948 when the first storm hit Nebraska. A second storm hit December 29 and followed by the major storm of January 2-5, 1949. According to Nebraska Historian Dr. Harl Dahlstrom, some areas received as much as 90-inches from the three storms with drifts as high as 25 to 30 feet. Though State and Highway crews fought the great battle, they could not keep up. Trains were ...
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Now Playing in the SAC Museum Theater

Now Playing: History Of SAC, Stealth Jets & Omaha’s Martin Bomber Plant

Next time you visit the Museum, be sure to add in some extra time to take a load off, grab a seat in our Theater and enjoy our latest programs playing through April 1. Daily showtimes at 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. SAC History Part 1 Military Aviation, Strategic Bombing, B-17, B-29, B-36, B-47, B-52, KC-97, KC-135, GEN Kenney, GEN LeMay, GEN Power, Interviews Dating back to the dawn of aviation and the Wright Brothers, the United States military always saw the potential of lighter than air controlled flight. During WWI the airplane proved valuable for reconnaissance, command control along with bombing and strafing. It was ultimately born out of this early experimental stage that strategic bombing would become the deterrence of the Cold War. This video explores the early days of aviation; barn storming, bombing, and even air-to-air refueling. Charles Lindbergh would prove the ability of trans-oceanic navigation, Eaker ...
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Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum Podcast

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum Podcast

Listen to the premier episode of the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum Podcast with Curator Brian York and President/CEO Jeffrey Cannon join host Marketing Director John Lefler, Jr ...
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History Comes Alive at the Museum

A few months back, the team at YURVIEW (Cox Communications) visited the Museum to do a profile. Enjoy! ...
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Curious Curator Blog 009

A Return to Glory

A Return to Glory : The Story of the Recovery & Restoration of the Sandbar Mitchell Tucked away in the east end of Hangar A is our B-25N “Mitchell.” Manufactured by North American Aviation in Kansas City, KS and delivered to the USAAF on January 17, 1945, the Museum’s “Mitchell” was dropped from inventory and delivered to the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum on November 9, 1959. Never to fly again.But, what if? What if we could fire up both Wright engines and take it up? Turns out, we will do just that…sort of.It’s the lifelong dream of Warbirds of Glory Museum Director, Patrick Mihalek. To restore and fly a B-25. For Mihalek, the love for the B-25 Mitchell all started when he was 9 years old drawing pictures of them for his grandfather. And as he drew those pictures, a dream was born to start an aviation museum and ...
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Blog-008-Main

Race for the Bomb: Part 3

The Race for the Bomb: Part 3 Blog Post #008 Do we really have Adolf Hitler to thank for the U.S. building the first Atomic Bomb, in a way yes. And one more time Adolf Germany invades the Soviet Union 1941 In June 1941, Hitler decided to break his non-aggression pact with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union. This two year prolonged invasion that ultimately spelled defeat for the Third Reich pulled more and more resources from the Soviets burgeoning atomic weapon development to fight the Germans. Most of the scientist working on the project were pulled into the Red Army and brought the promising program to a virtual halt. Thank you Hitler for stalling another atomic program and ensuring the United States’ success. Based on earlier atomic research begun in Delaware back in the early 1930s and then progressed through Columbia University and later moved to the University of ...
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Blog 007

Race for the Bomb: Part 2

The Race For the Bomb: Part 2 Blog Post #007 Do we really have Adolf Hitler to thank for the U.S. building the first Atomic Bomb, in a way yes. Inviting Einstein As Leo Szilard observed the development, study and possible implementation of atomic fission in a Nazi Germany, they felt the strong urgency to tip the balance more to the Allies. Szilard had immigrated to the United States, fleeing the rise of war in Europe. Once he arrived, he reached out to a fellow physicist, a very well known physicist, Albert Einstein to help get a letter to then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt warning of the possibility of German developing an atomic weapon based on atomic fission. Einstein agreed and signed the letter which called for an aggressive dedication of resources in atomic research and development. The British Bomb The United Kingdom was also working in the field ...
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Blog 006

Race for the Bomb: Part 1

The Race For the Bomb: Part 1 Blog Post #006 Do we really have Adolf Hitler to thank for the U.S. building the first Atomic Bomb, in a way yes. Where the Atom Began Ok, we are not really going the beginning of atoms but rather early atomic research. Dating back to 1908, New Zealand born, British scientist Earnest Rutherford received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in radioactive substances. His more important accomplishments occurred after he moved to Victoria University of Manchester, England where he theorized that atoms have their charge concentrated in the very small nucleus. Through his theories and experimentation he discovered the emission of subatomic particles that would become known as protons. In 1920 his leadership led to the discovery of the neutron and the controlled splitting of a nucleus, 1932. The scientific world of atomic physics was rather small and closely knit. Hungarian ...
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Private Ed Mauser photo

Ed Mauser

Ed Mauser: Curahee –––––– BLOG POST #005 Ed Mauser: Curahee Born in LaSalle, Illinois, in 1916, Ed Mauser was 23 years old when he was drafted into the U.S. Army on January 17, 1942. While at Fort Benning, Georgia, Mauser was waiting to be assigned to a unit when he saw, for the first time, men jumping out of planes. The paratrooper was a new concept for the Army and it was so dangerous that only volunteers could be accepted and they were paid an extra $50 a month. Ed Mauser jumped at the chance to join and one week later he had become a paratrooper and joined the airborne. After earning his jump wings, he was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina where and was assigned to E Company, of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the the 101st Airborne’s. Also known as Easy Company. Private 1st Class Ed ...
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Dick Joyce

Lieutenant Colonel Richard O. Joyce, USAF (RET.) –––––– BLOG POST #004 Lieutenant Colonel Richard O. Joyce, USAF (RET.) Richard Joyce was a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, having graduated from Lincoln High School and later the University of Nebraska in 1940. He joined the Army Air Corps after graduation and received his wings in 1941. His unit, the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron, was commanded by Lt. Colonel James Doolittle and was among the first to train in the Army’s new North American B-25 “Mitchell” medium bomber. Following the1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the country was left with a burning desire for some immediate action, but no apparent means to carry it out. The Japanese Islands lay beyond the range of any land based bomber and carrier aircraft were incapable of carrying bomb loads capable of doing sufficient damage. A plan developed to load medium bombers on a Navy carrier and transport ...
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Lee Seemann

Lee Seemann Nebraskan Pilot –––––– BLOG POST #003 Perilous Journey: Capt. Lee Seemann and the B-17 Born in Omaha, NE, 1920, Lee Seemann did not show much interest in aviation other than going on a few rides with a family friend from Wahoo who owned his own plane. While he attended Central High School (Omaha, NE), Seemann excelled academically and in sports, but one of his proudest high school memories was being a part of the JROTC Crack Squad. Between his Junior and Senior Year, he and the other cadets won the national competition 1937. College days in California Following high school, Seemann attended Santa Clara College and continued his athletic and ROTC endeavors. Following graduation in 1942 he was inducted into the U. S. Army as a 2nd LT. Seemann reported to the 1,300-acre Santa Ana Army Air Field in August. Though his drill training at Central High School ...
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Project FICON and the B-36

Project FICON and the B-36 –––––– BLOG POST #002 Project FICON In the beginning of the Cold War strategic bombing and strategic reconnaissance faced the issue of distance to target. The United States long range bombers and reconnaissance aircraft could make the flight but would not have fighter escort. The concept of FICON (fighter conveyor) seemed to be the immediate solution. Parasite Fighter Developed out of a request by the USAAF as an escort fighter to be carried in the bomb bay of a Northrop XB-35 or Convair B-36, the McDonnell XF-85 Goblin first flew August 25, 1948. The extended range of the large bombers and growing concerns of the Cold War called for nuclear bombers to be able to be launched from the United States, reach the Soviet Union and escape to a friendly base. Stationing escort fighters in Western Europe put bombing missions at risk. The Goblin was ...
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Quest: Navigating the World

Navigation Adventure, Exploration, Innovation

Navigation, Adventure, Exploration, Innovation –––––– BLOG POST #001 Navigation, Adventure, Exploration, Innovation We all take navigation for granted; we do it every day and do not think about it. These days during social distancing and lock downs we navigate from the kitchen to the living room. We navigate to the market, or to the pharmacy. We generally use our own experience or of those around us.  For journeys to parts unknown and much farther than our social connections, we must use other means, say GPS. In today’s technology, navigation is at our fingertips. But before our modern Global Positioning, how did early explorers navigate the unknown? The first known map was uncovered in Pavlov, Czech Republic and dates back to about 25,000 BC. The carved Mammoth tusk depicts mountains, rivers and routes, recording possible good hunting grounds, fresh water or another tribe. Maps are our way of recording where places ...
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