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Thread: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

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    Default Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    When I came in (1982) there were three commands: SAC, TAC, and MAC (in that order). Yes there were a few others but those were the big boys. The nuclear triad (bombers, missiles, submarines) was “it” and since the AF held two-thirds…you know who big daddy was.

    Then the wall fell and TAC won the MAJCOM wars (if in doubt, just look at the ACC patch compared to TAC’s), the remnants of SAC were scattered about. The “TAC mentality” (flying by the seat of your pants), Quality Air Force (with its vague and open to interpretation AFIs) replaced the rigid preparedness that “won the Cold War”.

    Today’s bombers are doing CAS missions, nukes are getting mishandled, nuke crews are decertified, and “compliance” is a term the Air Force is struggling even understand…yet alone follow. Is it possible to resurrect the “spirit of SAC” and apply it across the force…I don’t think so and here are my top five reasons why:

    1.The Nation is not united against a common enemy.
    For better than 40 years our enemy was the USSR. We knew what they looked like, how they dressed, how they talked. Popular movies almost always had the bad guy speaking with an Eastern European accent. School children regularly practiced “Fall Out” procedures (Duck & Cover). The Olympics were USA vs. USSR (see 1972 Men’s Basketball and 1980’s Miracle on Ice).
    Today we can’t even agree if it’s a Global War On Terrorism, and obviously our enemies cannot be easily defined or identified. Any attempt at selecting a certain group of people as our common enemy is negatively called “profiling”.

    2. A MAJCOM Commander will never be allowed to serve for multiple terms.
    General Curtis Lemay was CINCSAC from 1948 – 1957.
    MAJCOMs today are not controlled by the MAJCOM CC, but rather by the staff civilians who were there before and will be there after the current CC leaves (and they know that!). DoD mandated that there is only CINC; hence the MAJCOM CC is now called COMACC (as one example). CINCSAC definitely would hold more respect than COMSAC.

    3.We’ve lost the ability to follow rules to the letter, do what is directed by leadership or by guidance.
    SAC had written procedures for everything, and you had to have your checklist open to the appropriate page and refer to it as you are performing your task. Toilet paper was commonly referred to as SAC Form 1.
    Did Airmen grumble about being in SAC, yes…but at the same time they were proud to be in SAC. You knew where you stood and that with the exception of the local weather and surroundings how you performed your duty was the same at any SAC base or unit. There were very few local supplements to any AFR and of course NEVER to a SAC regulation. Now each base (even with the same weapons systems) does it their way at balks at the idea of standardization and training/evaluating to a worse-case (ORI) scenario.

    4.We don’t have the dedication, patience, etc. to train-evaluate-train constantly all the while hoping that we will never have to perform our real wartime mission (nuclear weapons).
    Imagine a constant IG/ORI mentality. Imagine anyone/everyone jumping into your business if you are not doing it the SAC way. Imagine everything (and everyone) shining, looking just right, always on display.
    The attitude instilled in the SP at the front gate to every Airman across the base, if you were in SAC you were above the rest. So much so that in the early 80’s SAC authorized the wearing of SAC shield (like on the SP berets) on all SAC Airman’s blues.

    5.We no longer openly and visably recognize and reward excellence in our PAFSC.
    SAC had numerous master technician programs that recognized you were “it” in your PAFSC and on a particular weapon system. Add to that the amount of competitions, evaluations, etc. that gauged your skills at your job…SAC recognized that every Airman was important and valuable to the mission. And they wore a special patch on their uniform stating "SAC Master Technician".

    6.We don’t have aircraft on alert.
    Nothing more chilling than to hear the claxon sound, see the crews scramble from the alert facility and race to the flight line. Seeing the alert signs in all the facilities, alert crew parking slots, alert crew seating areas in the theater, etc. reminded you that we only had a few minutes to respond.

    Will we ever see the return of SAC? Probably not, although we certainly could use a lot of SAC’s positive traits.
    "Never force a fart in Djibouti"..."Always marry your second wife first"..."If anyone says that you're not a team player, maybe they're on the wrong team"..."You can gold plate a turd and it's still a turd"

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    Have to agree with Chief_KO. I did three SAC tours, the last being at HQ SAC and helping to close it down. Another aspect as alluded to by Chief_KO was the absolute compliance mentality. You haven't see an IG Team come in and fire an entire Wing Command structure since SAC days. And, I was at a base where that happened - Pease AFB, NH. Wing failed ORI. Every O-6 level directorate failed with the exception of the RM (Resource Mgt - back then - had the Trans, Supply, Contracting, Finance, and Log Plans units under it). Anyway, every O-6 except the RM was fired on the spot and left on the plane with the IG Team to report to CINCSAC. I was a young E-5 in Trans and we were busting with pride that we passed the ORI with so much other failures going on around us.

    Couldn't see that happening in today's politically correct Air Force.
    A TRANSPORTER - NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL SOMETHING MOVES!!

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_KO View Post
    When I came in (1982) there were three commands: SAC, TAC, and MAC (in that order). Yes there were a few others but those were the big boys. The nuclear triad (bombers, missiles, submarines) was “it” and since the AF held two-thirds…you know who big daddy was.

    Then the wall fell and TAC won the MAJCOM wars (if in doubt, just look at the ACC patch compared to TAC’s), the remnants of SAC were scattered about. The “TAC mentality” (flying by the seat of your pants), Quality Air Force (with its vague and open to interpretation AFIs) replaced the rigid preparedness that “won the Cold War”.

    Today’s bombers are doing CAS missions, nukes are getting mishandled, nuke crews are decertified, and “compliance” is a term the Air Force is struggling even understand…yet alone follow. Is it possible to resurrect the “spirit of SAC” and apply it across the force…I don’t think so and here are my top five reasons why:

    1.The Nation is not united against a common enemy.
    For better than 40 years our enemy was the USSR. We knew what they looked like, how they dressed, how they talked. Popular movies almost always had the bad guy speaking with an Eastern European accent. School children regularly practiced “Fall Out” procedures (Duck & Cover). The Olympics were USA vs. USSR (see 1972 Men’s Basketball and 1980’s Miracle on Ice).
    Today we can’t even agree if it’s a Global War On Terrorism, and obviously our enemies cannot be easily defined or identified. Any attempt at selecting a certain group of people as our common enemy is negatively called “profiling”.

    2. A MAJCOM Commander will never be allowed to serve for multiple terms.
    General Curtis Lemay was CINCSAC from 1948 – 1957.
    MAJCOMs today are not controlled by the MAJCOM CC, but rather by the staff civilians who were there before and will be there after the current CC leaves (and they know that!). DoD mandated that there is only CINC; hence the MAJCOM CC is now called COMACC (as one example). CINCSAC definitely would hold more respect than COMSAC.

    3.We’ve lost the ability to follow rules to the letter, do what is directed by leadership or by guidance.
    SAC had written procedures for everything, and you had to have your checklist open to the appropriate page and refer to it as you are performing your task. Toilet paper was commonly referred to as SAC Form 1.
    Did Airmen grumble about being in SAC, yes…but at the same time they were proud to be in SAC. You knew where you stood and that with the exception of the local weather and surroundings how you performed your duty was the same at any SAC base or unit. There were very few local supplements to any AFR and of course NEVER to a SAC regulation. Now each base (even with the same weapons systems) does it their way at balks at the idea of standardization and training/evaluating to a worse-case (ORI) scenario.

    4.We don’t have the dedication, patience, etc. to train-evaluate-train constantly all the while hoping that we will never have to perform our real wartime mission (nuclear weapons).
    Imagine a constant IG/ORI mentality. Imagine anyone/everyone jumping into your business if you are not doing it the SAC way. Imagine everything (and everyone) shining, looking just right, always on display.
    The attitude instilled in the SP at the front gate to every Airman across the base, if you were in SAC you were above the rest. So much so that in the early 80’s SAC authorized the wearing of SAC shield (like on the SP berets) on all SAC Airman’s blues.

    5.We no longer openly and visably recognize and reward excellence in our PAFSC.
    SAC had numerous master technician programs that recognized you were “it” in your PAFSC and on a particular weapon system. Add to that the amount of competitions, evaluations, etc. that gauged your skills at your job…SAC recognized that every Airman was important and valuable to the mission. And they wore a special patch on their uniform stating "SAC Master Technician".

    6.We don’t have aircraft on alert.
    Nothing more chilling than to hear the claxon sound, see the crews scramble from the alert facility and race to the flight line. Seeing the alert signs in all the facilities, alert crew parking slots, alert crew seating areas in the theater, etc. reminded you that we only had a few minutes to respond.

    Will we ever see the return of SAC? Probably not, although we certainly could use a lot of SAC’s positive traits.
    I was a SAC-trained killer, myself. It would be a tough road to get back to that level again, but I wouldn't say it can't be done.

    ...when I was in SAC, everyone hated it and thought a majority of the "rules" were beyond obsessive.

    But, if the modern bent on PT tells us anything...is that the AF is capable of getting really obsessive, really fast...

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    Wasn't that the point of Global Strike Command? Like Chief stated above I think that the environment in the AF has changed too much to bring back the SAC mentality.

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    Curtis LeMay would kill himself at the state of things if he wasn't already dead. I would personally love to have a no notice ORI and watch all the boot licking, BBQ leading toadies fail miserably.
    Newton's First Law of Motion

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_KO View Post
    When I came in (1982) there were three commands: SAC, TAC, and MAC (in that order). Yes there were a few others but those were the big boys. The nuclear triad (bombers, missiles, submarines) was “it” and since the AF held two-thirds…you know who big daddy was.

    Then the wall fell and TAC won the MAJCOM wars (if in doubt, just look at the ACC patch compared to TAC’s), the remnants of SAC were scattered about. The “TAC mentality” (flying by the seat of your pants), Quality Air Force (with its vague and open to interpretation AFIs) replaced the rigid preparedness that “won the Cold War”.

    Today’s bombers are doing CAS missions, nukes are getting mishandled, nuke crews are decertified, and “compliance” is a term the Air Force is struggling even understand…yet alone follow. Is it possible to resurrect the “spirit of SAC” and apply it across the force…I don’t think so and here are my top five reasons why:

    1.The Nation is not united against a common enemy.
    For better than 40 years our enemy was the USSR. We knew what they looked like, how they dressed, how they talked. Popular movies almost always had the bad guy speaking with an Eastern European accent. School children regularly practiced “Fall Out” procedures (Duck & Cover). The Olympics were USA vs. USSR (see 1972 Men’s Basketball and 1980’s Miracle on Ice).
    Today we can’t even agree if it’s a Global War On Terrorism, and obviously our enemies cannot be easily defined or identified. Any attempt at selecting a certain group of people as our common enemy is negatively called “profiling”.

    2. A MAJCOM Commander will never be allowed to serve for multiple terms.
    General Curtis Lemay was CINCSAC from 1948 – 1957.
    MAJCOMs today are not controlled by the MAJCOM CC, but rather by the staff civilians who were there before and will be there after the current CC leaves (and they know that!). DoD mandated that there is only CINC; hence the MAJCOM CC is now called COMACC (as one example). CINCSAC definitely would hold more respect than COMSAC.

    3.We’ve lost the ability to follow rules to the letter, do what is directed by leadership or by guidance.
    SAC had written procedures for everything, and you had to have your checklist open to the appropriate page and refer to it as you are performing your task. Toilet paper was commonly referred to as SAC Form 1.
    Did Airmen grumble about being in SAC, yes…but at the same time they were proud to be in SAC. You knew where you stood and that with the exception of the local weather and surroundings how you performed your duty was the same at any SAC base or unit. There were very few local supplements to any AFR and of course NEVER to a SAC regulation. Now each base (even with the same weapons systems) does it their way at balks at the idea of standardization and training/evaluating to a worse-case (ORI) scenario.

    4.We don’t have the dedication, patience, etc. to train-evaluate-train constantly all the while hoping that we will never have to perform our real wartime mission (nuclear weapons).
    Imagine a constant IG/ORI mentality. Imagine anyone/everyone jumping into your business if you are not doing it the SAC way. Imagine everything (and everyone) shining, looking just right, always on display.
    The attitude instilled in the SP at the front gate to every Airman across the base, if you were in SAC you were above the rest. So much so that in the early 80’s SAC authorized the wearing of SAC shield (like on the SP berets) on all SAC Airman’s blues.

    5.We no longer openly and visably recognize and reward excellence in our PAFSC.
    SAC had numerous master technician programs that recognized you were “it” in your PAFSC and on a particular weapon system. Add to that the amount of competitions, evaluations, etc. that gauged your skills at your job…SAC recognized that every Airman was important and valuable to the mission. And they wore a special patch on their uniform stating "SAC Master Technician".

    6.We don’t have aircraft on alert.
    Nothing more chilling than to hear the claxon sound, see the crews scramble from the alert facility and race to the flight line. Seeing the alert signs in all the facilities, alert crew parking slots, alert crew seating areas in the theater, etc. reminded you that we only had a few minutes to respond.

    Will we ever see the return of SAC? Probably not, although we certainly could use a lot of SAC’s positive traits.
    No way, no how. Back in the 80's, inspection teams used to fly in with very little notice and there was a 1-star general on standby ready to take over command in case the wing CC got fired during the inspection.

    We are in the kindler, gentler AF where rules are all open to interpretation and it takes flying nukes cross country or failing a PT test to get fired now.
    Last edited by grimreaper; 06-12-2013 at 06:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    You old guys kill me, everything was supposedly so much better in your day...HA! We are where we are at because of you 80s knuckleheads. Mx being under Ops, flying the crap out of airframes, doing shady mx actions. You think a old SAC inspection isn't as hard as a NSI, then you are kidding yourself. What war did you support in the 80s, Grenada? Airmen today outproduce, outhustle, higher quality, smarter, etc then any of you old folks living in 'what you think' is the glory days. And to everyone who will react to this post (all the people that bad mouth the AF everyday on this forum), if you hate it so much get out or atleast stay away from this site, whiners!

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief_KO View Post
    6.We don’t have aircraft on alert.
    Nothing more chilling than to hear the claxon sound, see the crews scramble from the alert facility and race to the flight line. Seeing the alert signs in all the facilities, alert crew parking slots, alert crew seating areas in the theater, etc. reminded you that we only had a few minutes to respond.
    I assume you mean bombers? We don't have bombers on alert but we do have fighters, the logic being missiles will impact the target faster than the bombers will. The missile shield and current threat doesn't necessitate bomber alert.

    It would be neat to see, though.
    Newton's First Law of Motion

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    DWW....pointless rambling about nothing...your story doesn't make any sense...and your a comm guy (a non'er job)...oh yeah I bet you had it tough in SAC days.

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    Default Re: Could SAC Return in Today's Air Force

    I thought we were headed in that direction. To jmb's point, that was what GSC was supposed to do. Had the PACAF Vice roll in after the nuke dealio and talk to just the Chiefs about back to basics. He was extremely articulate and direct. It all made sense and we left the room thinking it was about time. That all fell apart because we let it. But I was talking with a friend just last night about when we were in SAC. I specifically mentioned torquing the bolts holding down a coffee pot in the missile capsule. Holy shit, go ahead and get caught with too little or too much torque on your coffee pot. We had 650,000 Airmen at the time. We just can't afford that attention to detail or the inspection teams to enforce it.... and don't need it. Before you flame me, consider this.

    I was the Mx Sup in a comm sq with a flightline. We were maintaing radios to an exacting standard and evaluating technicians' ability to do it. Inspections, QA, training, certs and decerts etc. Good stuff. I had to travel to Ascension Island in BFE because our Wing had oversight of the maintenance contract there. There were no guidelines for how to ensure accountability or contract compliance. The equipment was jacked but the contract that we wrote didn't ask that they maintain it to any standard at all. We got them squared away but it begged the question of why we have different standards for blue-suiters and civilian oversight and how much time and effort we could save if we found the in-the-middle answer.

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