Elite Guard Stories
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(note: If your recollection differs from the story told here, please remember that many witnesses are called to the witness stand in court and recount different stories, under oath, of the same event which occurred only days earlier. Our stories go back many years.)
|Paul Simard’s posting:My Air Force career started in 1975, my first set of orders were to England, which I swapped with another Tech School grad, for orders in California. Worked out to be a toss-up on the orders swap, as had I not gone to Beale AFB, home of the SR-71 and the U-2 (after Davis-Monthan closed), I would not have met TSgt Ross and another guardsman when they arrived to recruit members for the SAC Elite Guard. Coincidentally, their arrival came just after 25 of us had received orders to various Northern Tier bases. Mine were to Grand Forks, ND. I had a couple of conversations with TSgt Ross and Omar, who was the other guardsman accompanying him, learning a bit about the job that might become mine.
Anyway, I decided to change my orders in favor of the Elite Guard, and wound up having one of the most rewarding experiences of my military career. It is amazing how much the standards to which I was held in the Guard to have stuck with me over the years since.
I often look back on my time in the guard, working in the underground, as I observe the light of the sun, wishing sometimes to be back at Post 523, where the sun never rose, or set, or was even observed.
I had been in Bldg. 500 for less than a week. I was working the desk at Post 523, entry control to the SAC Command Post.
Coming down the hall from the JSTPS area was TSgt Burton and A1C Del Anderson, an old friend of mine from Beale AFB, whom I’d known for several years.
TSgt Burton displayed the duress sign, and *I missed it*, because I knew Del better than I knew TSgt Burton.
Personal recognition jumped up and bit me there. After a deserved reaming from TSgt Burton for my error, I explained the circumstances of my acquaintance with Del and the other four new guardsman who he was using as penetrators, and that having worked with all of them on a daily basis for over two years, I’d likely be more suspicious of him than them for some time, and that likely most of those others would agree.
The last I heard of the incident was the “Hrumph” as they departed.
Paul Simard (1978-1979) Candler, NC
|Mike Keal’s posting:I don’t have much of a story other than fond memories of the friends I made while at Offutt. I was selected Guardsman of the Month on two different occasions through interviews and competition. I would really be interested in seeing any video of Formal Guardmount or Formal Retirement Ceremonies if anyone knows where I can find them.I didn’t really think so at the time but those were some of the best days of my life and it had to do with all the good people I was associated with—Neal Parent, Bob Gdovic, Bob Polochik, Larry Mielke and Al Spurlin just to name a few. If anyone has had any contact with those guys, I’d like to know. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Keal (2/69 thru 11/70) Parsons, Kansas
|A Billy Davis Portrait The Dodd Family
(click to enlarge)I would like to share with you what as turned out to be an amazing story.After Billy Davis passed away last November, I was going through some of his photos and things. I came across a SAC Elite Guard Historical DVD, a video history. My wife Tammy, Billy’s daughter, didn’t know a lot of details about Billy’s Air Force service, just that he was with the Security Police which was also about all that I knew from conversations with Billy. He never talked much about his service time probably because he was always a humble and quiet man.After going through his photos and other items I decided that I would put together a display case of his medals, ribbons, unit insignia and such. This, to honor Billy’s service to our country and also something that I could give to my son Chris, something meaningful for him to remember his grandpa as a patriot who served his country with pride.This lead me to search the Internet and I came upon the SAC Elite Guard website. I pretty much reviewed every picture in the gallery and we were thrilled to find photos of Billy and his fellow guardsmen. While going through the photo gallery I noticed in the background of several of the photos that there was a painting of a guardsman that looked like the photo of Billy standing next to the sign that reads “Peace Is Our Profession”. I showed it to my wife Tammy and she agreed that it looked like her father. I remember telling her at the time that we should see if anyone knew anything about the painting or what may have happened to it.Well a few months had passed and I decided I needed to gather a few more things for the display case before I could put it together. I had most of Billy’s medals and ribbons, the ones that were missing I purchased off of ebay. I used a copy of Billy’s DD214 form to know what he was awarded. This is where the story becomes amazing.I was needing two more items for the display case so I did a word search under USAF SAC on ebay. As I scrolled through items for sale late one night, I came across that very painting we had seen in the photo gallery. It was for sale for $225.00. Seems the owner of the painting had purchased it in the mid 80’s from a military collector in Phoenix. He didn’t have any info on the painting or its age but knew it was a USAF Security Policeman. His father had worked in the vault at SAC HQ in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.We were able to purchase the painting for $150.00 and received it a few days later in near perfect condition. This is an amazing set of circumstances! The whereabouts of this painting had been a mystery and no one seemed to know what had become of it. Our family is extremely happy to have found such a wonderful piece of history to cherish that was also a meaningful tribute to Billy. Our family would like to thank those that served with Billy Davis and all who have served in the SAC Elite Guard.May the Good Lord Bless and keep you always.
The Dodd family
I was called by MSgt Don Smith and told to go get my stuff ready I was going to K. I. Sawyer AFB, Mich. I packed while they wrote the orders and I was the only passenger on a T-39 going to Sawyer because two pilots needed to get their flight time in.
I took some ribbing while there about the plane ride, but I got the last laugh when they came back two days later to pick me up. I refuse to answer whether I spoke of my own private Elite Guard Plane as a recruiting tool. lol. I recruited two NCOs there.
I took one additional trip in my little SAC T-39 to Washington State (Fairchild) I think, but I let a full Colonel ride with me on that trip.
LOL, those were the good old days.
Robert Griffith (Jun 68 – Dec 70)
My NicknameOne day I was at the main entrance when the CINC SAC, General John Ryan “Three Finger Jack” arrived in his vehicle, I opened the door and saluted. “Thank you Skippy.” says the general and enters the building.
Dave Scott “Scottie” parks the vehicle and comes in and I ask what “Skippy” might have been about. Dave has give me that nickname, he gave Jim Burton “Whip” and others to others, we all wondered where the heck?
By 1968 I had left the guard and cross trained into photo analysis. I was assigned to Udorn RTAFB. General Ryan then CINC PACAF made a stop at Udorn and was to do a tour of facilities.I was in the LAB when Gen. Ryan arrived, he kind of walked in unannounced with the entourage lagging behind. Almost immediately he focused on me as if he knew me, then came over. I reached out my hand to welcome and introduce myself. He grabbed my shoulders, gave me a hug and says “How are you Skippy?”
Now the entourage had arrived and were stunned, pony show to begin. Gen. Ryan dismisses the formal and says that “Sergeant Henderson will show me around.” As we walk he asks about my wife and I tell him that we had just had a daughter born. “Going to see them? “he asks. “No sir, can’t get leave out of a war zone and I can’t afford it.” I respond. We finish the tour and are outside waiting on the transportation, “You are set to go Skippy, we’re leaving in an hour you know what to do.” he says. Sure enough it was wheels up on the way to Hickam with the CINC.
When we landed I was asked if I had a way to Los Angeles. I said that as yet I had not. The General smiled and asked his Aide to assist me in any way possible. The aide did do just that, got me a military flight to Los Angeles an ultimately a return flight from the west coast via a KC-135 bound for Utapio which stopped at Udorn to let me off.
Had it not been for my tour with the SAC Elite Guard, the exposure to the upper levels, and a simple nick name that registered to remember me, this would not have happened.
Dave “Skippy” Henderson (65-66)
Halloween at Guardmount
I was on “A” Flight and it was Halloween. Someone brought a full face Halloween mask to work and I decided to play a joke on TSgt Renninger. I put the mask on with my beret on top and stood at Guardmount. The cool thing about this was that TSgt Renninger never skipped a beat. He saw me but kept on with Guardmount as if nothing happened. Finally he was about to dismiss us but asked me to stick around after Guardmount. I did and received a dress down (deservedly) that I would never forget. I received a Letter of Counseling. I have that letter framed and has been in every office I have ever worked in since.
When I left the SAC Guard to go to the USAF Honor Guard in D.C. TSgt Renninger came up to me on my last day and said “That stunt you pulled on Halloween was the ballsiest move a new Sgt could ever make…. I laughed like hell later that day”.TSgt Renninger was a big influence on me for the rest of my life. He was a great man and is surely missed.
Warren Sims (75-78)
|ANOTHER ALARM RESPONSE STORYIt must be a trait of the CINCSAC’s to get bumped during Alarm Team responses. I too had a “run in” with General Ryan as we were responding to a CP alarm. As we were heading down the ramp past the underground entrance, making the first turn back, I slammed into someone which caused me to stop immediately. As I looked, all I saw was 4 stars!!! All General Ryan said was, “GO-GO-GO”. We continued on to the alarm with no further incidents, or comments from the CINC, or anyone else.Ed Keeney (65-68)|
|6 StoriesHere are six accounts that happened during my tour on the guard, sorry I cannot remember the exact dates as accurately as some and they are not necessarily in the order they occurred .Alarm Response: I was assigned as an extra on this particular day shift, relieving for breaks, escorting visitors and what ever else came up. While in the alarm room the Controller’s hold up alarm went off in the underground Command Post. One of the Elite Guards and I were dispatched as the response team. While making the left turn heading for the basement stairwell, depending on your speed, you either pushed off the wall just before, on or just after the Barbershop door. On this particular occasion I was in line with the door, it opened and I hit the chest of who ever opened it. The individual fell backwards and I kept right on going. When we arrived in the command post and checked it out, the Colonel who was the controller said he couldn’t remember what that button under his desk was for so he pushed it to find out. On returning to the alarm room I learned the gentleman that I pushed over the way down was no other than General Thomas S. Powers, CINCSAC. Other than the General stopping by the alarm room to see what the response was about, nothing further was said about it, with the exception of some ribbing about knocking one of the world’s most powerful men on his butt.
VIP Visitors: This occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis while I was assigned an escort for two Congressmen who were being given a tour of the Headquarters. The young Lieutenant from Protocol, who was conducting the tour, was laying it on thickly about the only reason they were allowed to go on this tour while the headquarters was locked was because of their high status as Congressman. Our next stop was to see the display of the simulated missile attack on the U.S. by the USSR. When we arrived the demonstration was delayed for a few minuets while awaiting another tour group to join us. This other VIP group strongly resembled a troop of Boy Scouts. The Congressman looked pissed, the embarrassed Lieutenant turned red, the Boy Scouts thought it was neat to meet a Congressman and I thought it was funny as hell.
The Penetrator: This occurred during one of the OSI’s attempted penetrations of the Headquarters building. I was relieving the guard at the main entrance for chow, I was briefed that one of the penetrators had been caught and that anyone that had a restricted area badge with two certain numbers and a white background around their picture was a penetrator and was to be held for interrogation. Less than 10 minutes later, who should come in but Major General Selmon (Sundown) Wells, SACIG who’s badge has all the numbers and a white background. I informed him that I was going to hold him for interrogation. “Who’s the idiot that put out that order?” he asked. “The “SAC IG Sir”, I replied. About that time Master Sergeant Schumacher arrived and escorted the General to the alarm room and that order was immediately rescinded.
Communication System Alarm: This incident took place during the 465L system construction in the underground complex. Numerous rooms were involved in the construction of this very large computer system. Several rooms had been stripped completely including walls to make one large room to hold the equipment. I was again an extra on this night shift we had been on duty for about two hours when one of the alarms went off in one Comm. center’s offices on the middle floor of the Underground. Again I am selected as part of the response team, off we run down the stairs and ramps to the middle floor of the underground and into the designated area where the alarmed room is supposed to be. What we find is this very large room, which used to be 6 rooms, in the center of which is a door and frame standing alone with no walls or ceiling attached but was still alarmed and a Staff Sergeant is cutting up by walking in and out of the door. Feeling kind of stupid we turned off the alarm and returned to the alarm room.
Checking with the Real Authority: This also took place during the 465L construction. I was assigned to guard an opening in the ceiling on the bottom floor of the underground to insure none but authorized people were granted entry because the area connected to the command post. Major General Wells, IG, Captain Altieri and M/Sgt Schumacher enter the area and the General asked some complicated question about the security being provided during the construction, Capt Altieri gave a long detailed explanation, after which the General turns to Sgt Schumacher and ask “Is that right Shoe?” Capt Alteri’s jaw locked, his face turned red but he said nothing and left as soon as possible.
The Wicked Smile: This took place on a Sunday, usually a quiet time on the hill, when an unusual thing happened. That day I was working the Desk/ADT board. To begin with, several of the Generals came to work early that morning for some kind of briefing, but the thing that got everyone stirred up was that Gen Smith, Dir of Intelligence, who was the most stone faced person of the Generals came in with a big smile on his face. This was so unusual everyone on the guard was talking about it. The next day the President of U.S. announced the presence of the missile in Cuba and we knew why he was smiling. It was his boys who had found the missiles.
Well that’s all the war stories that come to mind, my grandson is in the AFJROTC at his high school. I talked to the advisor and he would like to have some of the SAC Drill Team demonstration routines for reference material. If there are still some available that would be good for this, I would be glad to buy them.
George A. Waninger (61 – 65)
|A hairy episodeStarting around 3 months before I got out of the service, while being in the Guard, I started to grow my hair out…. after all it was the 70’s When it started to get longer than the regs would allow, I started “dippity dooing” it up under my beret…and know one would notice….at least that’s what I hoped.One day, about a week before getting out, I was posted at the front door of building 500. It was a fairly windy day! Along comes the CINCSAC, General Daugherty, to leave the bldg. As I opened the door for him, gave him my sharp salute, the wind hit my beret just right and it blew off. I thought, “oh crap”! To my great surprise, the general reached down, picked up my beret and handed it to me….looking now at my mop top. With a smile and a wink, he said, “getting short, huh?”….and he walked away with a smile. My heart was beating a thousand times a minute!
He was one hell of a neat general!
Ray Golden (75 – 76)
|Report to the officeI WAS THINKING ABOUT SGT. SCHUMACHER WHO WAS A MASTER SERGEANT DURING MY TOUR OF DUTY AND I WAS AT MY USUAL POST WHICH WAS THE TWO MAN POST LEADING TO THE UNDERGROUND. AN ELITE GUARD APPROACHED ME AND SAID THAT I HAD TO REPORT TO SGT. SCHUMACHER IN HIS OFFICE. OF COURSE THE FIRST QUESTION IS “WHY!”. HE DIDN’T KNOW BUT HE SAID HE WASN’T SMILING. I SAID HE VERY SELDOM SMILES. AS I WAS CLIMBING THE STEPS WONDERING IF MY MAD COMIC BOOKS HAD BEEN DISCOVERED UNDER THE FOOT PAD AT MY POST OR THE HIDDEN COFFEE CUPS OR THE EMPTY PEANUT BAGS I HAD PLACED IN THE ELECTRICAL PANEL. ANYWAY I WALKED INTO HIS OFFICE AND BEGAN TO REPORT, HE STOPPED ME AND POINTED TO HIS LEFT AND CAPT. MAGERS (LT. COL. RET.) WAS SITTING THERE. I THOUGHT. WHO DID I LET THROUGH MY POST’? I HAD HEARD OF LEAVENWORTH BUT HAD NO DESIRE TO VISIT IT. HE ASKED ME IF MY NAME WAS JONES ALONG WITH MY SERIAL NUMBER. HE THEN HANDED ME THE AIRMAN FIRST CLASS STRIPES. I SALUTED AND THANKED HIM AND ON MY WAY OUT SGT. BILL GOT UP AND SHOOK MY HAND. I DETECTED A SMILE AS HE TOLD ME TO GO BACK TO WORK. I THANKED HIM THEN AND I THANK HIM NOW FOR THE MEMORIES… GODS SPEED…Wayne Jones (64-66)|
|Jacking Up the Frito Lay Driver (AKA Frito Bandito)Hello to all my brothers that have served on the Guard! I served for a very short time between my escape from the flight line in the early part of 1993 to the latter part of 1994 when I departed for OTS. The most amusing story I have is probably when I jacked up the Frito-Lay guy!I was standing watch on “Victor 4”, which is the post that is the ECP to the courtyard, just behind “H”-wing, and through which all of the delivery trucks for the cafeteria must enter. I was standing this post when a large Frito-Lay delivery truck pulled up. I approached the driver’s side door and said something like “How ya doin’ today?” and the driver said “Fine.” The driver made no effort to do anything else, so I figured I would help him out by saying rather emphatically, “Can I see some ID?” He then seemed to get the clue and started riffling through the cab of the truck and the visors for his ID. He finally located a badge under the driver’s side visor, and handed it to me. This had all taken so long I was already thinking about how many pounds of fertilizer this big-a$$ truck could be carrying!
He then handed me a contractor’s badge that did not match his features at all. I told him this did not match him remotely, to which I got a shrug and a “That’s the only badge I can find.” I politely asked him to wait for just a second while I phoned my superiors. I then phoned in a bogus badge to SCC while watching him closely. I then went back outside and politely asked him to step out of the truck and follow me back to the guard post, so we could wait for my superior to clear this matter up. I knew full well that no fewer than Delta 4 and 4 alpha, the mobile SaRT team, as well as Delta 1, the Flight Chief would be responding to my location at a dead run.
The driver dismounted the truck carrying a handheld scanner of some kind (much like the ones UPS drivers carry, maybe he thought he was still going to scan something?) and I told him to “Go ahead and set the scanner down on the ground and keep your hands where I can see them until my boss gets here and we can straighten this out.” He then put the scanner on the ground and then promptly started to dig his right hand into his front pocket! Well, I had had about as much as I could safely tolerate, so, turned side-on to the suspect, I undid the catch on my holster and had my weapon half out of its holster as I said in an almost shout “I SAID keep you hands where I can see them!” You could almost see the light bulb go off above his head! He gave me the Homer Simpson blink a couple of times, and then held his hands up and out to the sides, absolutely dumbfounded that somebody was about to draw a weapon on him! I could not believe this was really happening, because this guy was so dumb, and I really wanted to know how he got on base in the first place.
The mobile response team and the flight chief arrived very soon thereafter, and took the idiot driver into custody. He got to spend several hours filling out paperwork and answering questions, but I, being a low ranking airman, never got to hear what actually became of the incident or the driver. I do know that I was known as the “Frito Bandito” by the higher ups and received my share of good natured ribbing from my peers for a while thereafter! No one hesitated to tell me what a good job I had done, but I still felt like I had jacked up Homer Simpson!
Brian Harlow (93-94)
|Show down at the Red Dog Saloon:1972: One Friday afternoon, Tommy Allen and I were having a few beers at the NCO Club. Having tired of it we decided to go to the Red Dog Saloon on Ft Crook Road (Hwy 73-75 then), the Red Dog had been an oriental restaurant in the 60s.
The crowd was not pro military, typical for the time, and we were taunted and jostled around a bit. As the evening went on, and a few more bottles of artificial courage consumed we decided that we were not going to go lightly from the establishment and that there would be a good old cowboy brawl. So we call the barracks, explain the situation and ask for some help.
In no time 10-15 brothers arrive at the door. The bouncer is checking IDs and collecting a small cover charge. When Bill (Harvey) Barton reaches for his ID and lifts his hand, a night stick falls from his sleeve! Ooops! But surprisingly the night stick is taken from him but he is allowed to enter. More courage is consumed and it is decided it is time to deal with the hostile atmosphere. Some pushing and shoving begins, some tables get knocked over, yep a good ole bar brawl. We begin to exit and the bouncer stands in the door, the current Mr.. Nebraska, I take a swing at him and land on up the side of his head. He just looks at me, says you gotta leave and throws us out the door into the parking lot. In the distance we can hear sirens, we get up and the bouncer tells us to get out as the Sheriffs Department is on the way. We drift into the shadows as the bar is sealed off by deputies, slowly and quietly the other guys depart. We later rendezvous at the barracks and have a good laugh and a few more drinks. It was an example of the great camaraderie there was. Will never forget the look on Harvey Barton’s face and the bouncer when that night stick slid out! Agh to be young, foolish and a “Band of Brothers.” 🙂 Jim BurtonJim Burton
|Who Forgot to Shut the Door?Re-reading some of these stories about aircraft brought to mind one with the Drill Team. We were returning from a performance somewhere on a C-47. During the flight someone noticed that, during the flight, you could stand against the cargo door and see the ground below. We thought it was kind of neat, but we had one member who did NOT like flying at all. If memory serves me right, his name was Roger Neal. We finally got him to come to the door and look down through the space between the door and fuselage. He didn’t stay too long, but we still congratulated him on his bravery in completing the task.No one thought anything was out of the ordinary until we landed. We hit the runway with a pretty firm “BUMP”. The next thing we saw was the door flying open! We looked at Roger who had turned a pure white and almost passed out!The Crew Chief came running back and told us to be sure to stay away from the door till we stopped. When we told him about the space (I guess it was 3 or 4 inches), HE almost fainted. Seems the door had come partially unlatched during takeoff which meant ANYTIME during the flight (remember-a number of us were leaning on it at various times) it could have come open and – well you can figure out the rest.
I guarantee you, most of us (and Roger for sure) always checked the door and asked the Crew Chief to check it before we took off.
|Just another routine trip for the SAC Drill Team.Sometime in ’64, we were flying over the Rocky Mountains aboard C-97 #593, returning, I believe, from Moses Hole (Better known as Moses Lake, WA.) 593, General Harris’ bird at the time, was well appointed, with naugahyde-covered benches facing tables (perfect for playing cards), pull-down beds (which we were discouraged from using) and a galley. 593 also came with a steward. The steward decided to befriend us by cooking up a batch of french fries. He fired up the stove and just as he finished pouring cooking oil in a deep pan, we hit some Rocky Mountain turbulence. The bouncing caused the pan with the oil to shift, shimmy and shake spilling oil over the cooking surface where it ignited. Thus, we had a cabin fire at 30,000 feet and nowhere to go except down.The pilot, Col. Harold Fulmer, better known as “Happy Hal the Airman’s Pal”, yelled, “What the hell is going on!” Someone yelled, “Fire in the galley”. Fulmer, “Well get up here and close my door!” He then put the plane in a steep dive and began depressurizing the cabin.
Meanwhile, the cabin was filling with smoke, making everyone nauseous. The steward, who couldn’t readily find a fire extinguisher, headed for the hatch to the lower cargo hold to get one. Woolgar was either first or second out of his seat and headed for the lower bay hatch on the steward’s heels. He said, “To hell with the fire extinguisher, where’re the parachutes!”
Several of the men (I think, Tom Moots, Joe Stewart and Karl Rock) had a hard time convincing him that he needed to get back to his seat, but somehow managed to get it done.
The steward found a fire extinguisher and doused the flames, the fumes from the fire extinguisher adding to the foul air in the cabin.
The rest of the flight was uneventful, until we had to empty the barf bags, and hold our noses from some apparently soiled underwear, which caused some renewed olfactory distress. I’m pretty sure the flight crew spent as much time repairing holes in the passenger seats, made by some serious puckering, as they spent filling out the necessary paperwork, but that’s only a guess and the incident may have gone unreported.
Tom Mc Donald
|CINC’S Maintenance CrewThis is a short story about the Sac Elite guards having to provide security on General Ryan’s aircraft when it was brought into a secure hanger for maintenance. As y’all remember, the crew were Master Sgts. and above and they seemed to tolerate us. The guys from this time should remember that they were perfectionist and everything had to be in order, including their standup tool boxes. Each tool box had a rotary cylinder lock that consisted of three tumblers with the numbers zero through nine. All of us remember looking for some way to deal with the boredom of working mids, so I set all the tumblers to 0 0 0 and each time I would add another number (example 0 0 1 and so forth) until I finally opened the boxes. I passed this information on to other guards and we would “mess” with them by changing the order of the tool layout. We never took anything but they would bitch and moan and accuse each other of “jacking” with their stuff. We had our fun until I left some peanut shells in the tool box on top of the shiny open ended wrenches. I relocked everything up and the Chief Master Sgt. came to work early and saw me eating my breakfast of peanuts. He was a pretty good detective because be opened up the tool box, noticed the peanut shells, and saw me trying to hide the evidence……busted!!!!!. He thought it was funny but he did tell me what he could use a torque wrench for if it happened again. This ended my burglary career…god bless all with a sense of humor…Wayne M. Jones 64/66|
|C-54 (Tail Dragging Experience)We were flying to Sacramento California for a parade and were to be staying at the Air National Guard Hangar there.
We were flying in a (C-54 four piston engines with tricycle landing gear).
This flight was different as we usually traveled in fatigues and stored our Springfield Drill Rifles in the baggage compartment. We were told that there was a TV News team there to film us on landing and we had prepared a short routine to perform immediately on deplaning. We had to carry our Drill Uniform, Rifles and our boots on the plane and change in flight before we landed.
Part way through the flight we received notice that the TV people had cancelled so we were relieved that we didn’t have to change into Drill mode.
Somewhere during the flight, we lost hydraulic pressure and had no brakes, no flaps and no landing gear deployment.
On top of this, when we arrived at Sacramento, we were told the TV crew was there and waiting. So, the plane circled and circled, not to burn off fuel as was depicted, but to give us time to change into our Drill Uniform and for the crew to manually crank down the landing gear. Try changing uniforms in an airplane in a constant bank and not scuffing your boots…
As far as the tail dragging, I always thought it was due to the fact that we seated ourselves to the rear of the airplane in flight order to be in flight formation when we deplaned. That made the airplane tail heavy and when we touched down, the tail scraped and the cockpit crew came running out and hollering for us to move forward to put the airplane on it’s nose wheel. I recollect someone yelling “We made like a Gooney Bird!” A C-47 Gooney Bird is a tail wheel airplane for you young guys.
The runway was long and I don’t remember any panic by the cockpit crew or us for that matter. We were laughing and joking.
The airplane pulled up into the parking spot and we deplaned and did our routine and merrily went on our way to the National Guard Hangar. The TV people left and when the 5 o’clock news came on, we were stunned…. “SAC Drill Team Escapes Death and performs drill exercise flawlessly!” They showed the airplane landing and the tail dragging. They went on to say how the plane circled to burn off excess fuel and how dangerous it was…we were all laughing and joking.
That is how I remember the flight.Wayne Kester, SAC Drill Team, 59-61
NECAP (747)A trip was planned to the Omaha Airport with Lt. General Miller to meet and greet the President of the United States of America (President Ronald Regan) on Oct. 21 1982 but I have only one day to do this and it’s today. General Davis has decided to fly the new NECAP (747) that has been stationed at Offutt AFB for a while now. So all is ready the USSS (United States Secret Service) is expecting me, Airport Security is expecting me, even Omaha P.D. is briefed that I will be down at the Airport (armed) talking with the Secret Service (I am sure glad we kept them in the loop on this occasion). I get General Davis to the flight line and see him take off. I know that I have at least 3 hours to get every thing done, heck this will be no problem should even have time for about a half a pot of coffee with the USSS and plenty of time left over for some war stories. So we get all our business done and are starting on our second cup and I notice this real nice looking 747, all white with a blue stripe running down the full length of the plane doing a touch and go on the landing strip. Thinking this was funny, General Davis was going to do a few touch and go’s before returning to Offutt. How fast can you say “see you later bye” and out the door I run to the car. I start her up, and the C/P radio starts the phone is ringing and I get the feeling someone wants to get in touch with me real bad. I grab the C/P radio phone and find out the General has decided to cut his flight short. I answer the phone and it’s the General’s Aide telling me the same news. I ask him to alert the Omaha P.D. and let them know I will be going Code 3 back to base, I see the NECAP lining up for another pass. Can I beat a 747, well I can give it a try so off I go. I get lucky one of Omaha’s finest is running interference for me so maybe I have a chance (yea Bob if only I had him that day with the Trash Truck). We are hauling, well something but I can say it was REAL FAST! We are closing on the base I can see the 747 off in the distance it’s coming down, there is no way I am going to make it and then it happens, he does another touch and go. I give the P.D. Officer a quick thank you wave and zoom into the SAC Gate Head down to the 55th Alert Area and wait for the NECAP to park and pick up the General and take him back to Building 500. As I am waiting I get another call from the Office it’s the Executive Officer to the CINC he asked me if I made it I said yes and thanked him for the extra touch and go. He asked me what I was talking about. I said you did not ask the General to do one more touch and go, he said no he did not. I said that I saw the aircraft from the highway land and knew I would not make it in time and then he took off again. I had just assumed that he had asked the General to give me a little more time. He said that he had not. When I was driving General Davis back up to the hill I asked him about the extra touch and go, he said that bird is a thrill to fly it’s almost like a fighter it takes nothing to pull back on the wheel so I just had to do it one more time. The one thing I will always remember about General Davis this man does love to fly. One time after returning from flying the SR-71, I thought he was like a kid on Christmas Day. Or like me after a visit to a Gun Store, same effect.Dave Henshaw
Admiral Henshaw:I become a Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska.General Davis was overseas and I was planning a trip to Lincoln Nebraska for something and I stopped at the Capitol to speak to Andy with the Governors Security Staff. During our talk Andy asked me if I would like to become a Admiral in the Nebraska Navy. He said that he had arranged one for SSgt Brown (Chico) before he left. It came with a real nice poster that was great for framing and a ID card that would get you a free cup of coffee at the Capitol Building when I was their. I said sure sounded real nice He said that he would get Governor Charles Thone to do it before he left Office. A couple of weeks later a package arrived at Building 500 addressed to me inside was the commissioning paper signed by the Governor bearing the official seal and signed by the Governor. The Command Section gave me a frame for it that looked real good. A few months later the new Governor Kerrey bestowed the same honor for General Davis “Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska” The Command Section put his commissioning paper in the same frame and the General asked me to come up to his office to run a little errand for him. So when I enter his office he asked me to run his framed Admiral Commission to Quarters #16. I of course say that I would do so. I then mentioned that I also had been given the same honor when Governor Thone was in office and ( I just had to do it) I mentioned that if we ever went any place as Admirals I guess he would have to drive seeing how I had him time in grade time in service. He just laughed and said that he did not see us going any place as Admirals.
The Flag:When General Davis or Lt. General Miller were in Command he was said to have the Flag. What this really meant was which one of them had the Command Radio. I remember one day when that honor was mine.General Davis was scheduled to leave for a visit to somewhere (I can’t remember where) Lt. General Miller was flying back to Offutt and was due back at any minute. General Davis told me that he was not going to wait and gave me the radio, he informed me that if anything serious happened the VICE CINC could be contacted as he approached the base and the Looking Glass General was always available if needed. But Lt. General Miller would be here before anything happened. General Davis got aboard TUG 61 and he was airborne leaving me with the BRICK and at that point in time it was one heavy BRICK. Then the Command Post called via the C/P Phone asking for the General. (do I make up something or do I tell the truth) so I inform the Col. That General Davis has departed. I am then informed that he was calling to inform Gen. Davis that Lt. Gen. Miller is about 10 minutes out. He then asks who has the flag. I tell him that the General left the brick with me. There was a very long pause from the C/P. and then the Col. made a chuckle and said OK, Sir I will inform you when the VICE CINC gets at about 2 minutes out and breaks out in a big laugh. I ask the Col. come on sir don’t make this any harder than it needs to be. He said OK Dave it will be our little secret.
Something told me this was not over. When Lt. General Miller lands he comes to the car and I hand him the brick and open the door for him to get in and he says to me OK Dave I relieve you of Command. On the drive back to Bldg. 500 I ask Lt. Gen. Miller if I will ever hear the end of this, he said that I would never hear anything about it from anyone with a rank lower than a One Star. But then how many SSgt’s had been in Command of the Strategic Air Command, even if it was only for about 14 minutes. (my how time fly’s when your sweating bullets)Dave Henshaw
CINC’s (KC-01)I was reading a story by Tom McLaughlin (1967-1968) about the CINC’s Aircraft (KC-01) he talks about how it was fit for royalty. Well the reason that Aircraft all ways looked so good was the crew. They all pitched in on her. At least during my time their. The whole crew from the Pilot down to the lowest crew member would be out working on that bird. I remember one day I was over at the hanger and they had floor buffers on the wings and hand buffers working on the body. I asked what kind of polish they used and they even gave me a small can that I used on the car. This stuff was GREAT dam near bullet proof supper hard and shine it was wonderful. But one year they returned from D.C. and they were like a bunch of kids at Christmas, down right giddy. I asked what was going on and was told that they pissed off the Crew of Air Force One. They were told that they were never allowed to park KC-01 next to Air Force One ever again, it seams that when you park the two planes together one looks so much better than the other it’s just embarrassing. Guess which one looks better.Thought you might enjoy this one Tom.
Golf & Bob Hope:One of General Davis’ passions was golf, we would always be going to one place our another to play (that is he would play, I would watch). Governor Kerrey was also a golfer. Well one year Bob Hope was visiting Offutt and we all know how he felt about the game, so we all headed out to the Lincoln Country Club in Lincoln Nebraska. It was Gov. Kerrey, Gen. Davis, Bob Hope, Andy (the Governor’s Body Guard) and little old me. Andy and I joked about taking an extra golf bag and filling it with all kinds of extra long guns Mr. Hope did not find this very funny. It was not until years later that I found out he was anti guns. (takes all kinds I guess). But the next day we were to attend a big SAC dinner at a exclusive club in Omaha, this club was located on the top floor of one of the taller buildings in town. We were all riding up the elevator and the Gov. Gen. and Mr. Hope were standing on one side of the elevator and Andy and I were on the other. Governor Kerrey said to Mr. Hope just one word too them (gesturing towards Andy and me) they would shoot you, Mr. Hope looked at General Davis and he said yes they would. Mr. Hope looked at us and we just smiled. Before Mr. Hope departed the base I asked for a autographed photo and he signed one for me and mentioned the remark that was made on the elevator I ensured him that we would not just shoot him on a word from the Governor, it would take a real reason for us to shoot him. He then said “then you really do carry guns” I said yes they don’t keep us around for just our good looks.Dave Henshaw
My story: This one’s for you BobI wreck the first unmarked Staff Car.
Yea this was a very low time for me. I thought well it was over I would be on the next flight for bum f(something). It all started with an actual alarm at the VICE CINC’s Quarters, at the time as per policy if the CINC was in the office and I was available I would respond with Law Enforcement to the CINC / VICECINC Quarters to assist with identifying all staff and family members. On the way right in front of the NECAP Alert Crew Billets I came upon a Trash Truck his right turn blinkers were flashing, since there was no right turn any where around this location I thought the Truck was pulling to the far right side of the street so I could pass (I assumed). With all of my RED lights blazing and the siren blaring I started to pass, then the truck turned left into the NECAP Alert Crew Area, and right into me, the only thing that saved my life was a special School that I had been sent too earlier dealing with driving all I could think of was panic braking and pick a soft spot. I hit the back tires of the truck. As I cut the power I could hear music, I thought this was strange until the door of the truck opened the music was too loud for me and I was in my car with the door shut. I called LE and told them to respond an extra car to the General’s Quarters and that I was just evolved in a MVA, and gave them my location. I remember about then all hell broke lose. I contacted Command Section and told the Generals Aide what had happened and to have an extra Staff Car brought up to Building 500 and that I did not know when I would be returning. He asked me if I was alright and I said I think so, but was not real sure. I had so many LE units plus Elite Guard Personnel, Base Command Personnel, and Medical Crews. I just knew it must be a National Defense Area and it’s my Fault. I thought did I have a NUKE in the Trunk? Well after the investigations that were supervised by the Office of the SAC Chief of Security Police (their would be no hint of any cover up as per the CINC) I was cleared and the driver of the trash truck was sited. My beautiful new car was totaled (ok the CINC’s New Caw was totaled) but I kept the darn thing all clean and polished. So we started the process all over and we did get a better car the second time around. And I managed to keep this one looking real good until General Davis retired and I gave my se
t of keys to my replacement in 1985.
The CINC’s New Car:They were taking this security stuff serious when I suggested getting a unmarked staff car I was surprised the response was yes lets do it. I was instructed to look into rental cars and to see what was available. Then the Command Section went out and asked a few dealers to select some different models to bring up to the Headquarters Building for the General to look at. Their were about 6 cars delivered for the General to check out and he decided to see how they drove so he said ok Dave lets test drive them. So off we go around the base out on the highway, lucky we informed the Law Enforcement Section that Dave and the General would be out in different cars and to except anything that I was driving as authorized to be on base. Well General Davis made his selection and we were making the final deal with the dealer and I informed the dealer that I wanted the full Police Package on the car, General Davis then said I thought this was going to be an unmarked car I don’t want a big light bar on my car. I explained that the Police Package was heavy duty electrical, suspension, and the like and he said ok then, we later had the car equipped with a Como package for command post radio, phone, recessed red lights behind the grill siren system and a red bubble for the dash board. When General Davis saw the car for the first time he said it was like the Looking Glass only without the five mile trailing wire antenna. I took the car to LE Guardmount’s, SP Guardmount’s so the troops would know the car. I told them when I had the stars mounted just wave us through if not just treat me as any other person. Some wise guy made me a plate with Staff Stripes that I just kept in the trunk of the car. Now I have to tell you about one night we were coming back to base late and there was a new very young Airman at the Main Gate. This Airman was doing a very good job anyway but when he saw the Generals Car I thought he was going to hurt himself saluting as we went by. But General Davis was very impressed with this Airman and wanted his superiors to know about it. I told him that I would find out his name and get this information to him so he could commend him via a letter. After I dropped him at his quarters I went to the Law Enforcement Building and asked who was working the Main Gate. Of course they thought something was wrong, and I assured them that the General was very pleased with the Airman working the gate. I got the information and decided to stop by before heading back to Building 500 and ending my night. I drove up to the gate, got out of the car (now I am in a suit) the young Airman came out Saluted and started to report his post. I said stop, I am not an Officer, I just wanted to tell him that General Davis was very impressed with him and that he would be receiving a letter from the General for his outstanding duty performance. He thanked me and saluted me and returned to his gate. This same Airman was later written up in the Base Paper for his outstanding performance as a LE Gate Guard.
One of My Most Frightening Moments:My time with the 3906th was short-lived, but I can say that I had a great time and worked with some great professionals; who took their job seriously.
I remember working the vehicle entry control point, when it was located at the bottom of the horse shoe drive; closest to the officers billets. I was just an Airman Basic eager to take my job as serious as the others. My instructions(SSI’s)were divert ALL pedestrian traffic to the personnel gate (we had fencing around the building then) and process only the authorized vehicles in. Anyone attempting to enter, who was unauthorized, I had to challenge them. The instructions couldn’t be more black and white than that. I noticed a one star steadily approaching my ECP on foot. I popped a sharp salute and respectfully asked the general to use the pedestrian gate, which was only a few yards away. He said, “No Airman, I will walk through this way”; he didn’t slow his pace a bit. I would have surely recognized this general, if he was in my picture book on post. My QCE required for me to know all of the assigned SAC generals names by visual recognition. If I missed one photo during the eval, I would have flunked my entire QCE (according to my supervisor). Well anyway, The general insisted on continuing through my ECP and kept walking. I thought to myself, “Oh $^@!” How am I to stop a general??? At this time, he just went past my ECP, and I didn’t recognize who he was. Well, I placed my GAU at port arms and yelled, “HALT. Don’t go any further!” He then stopped, turned around, and asked me, “What in hell you think you’re doing Airman?” “Sir, you needed to go through the pedestrian gate. My orders are to not allow anyone to walk through this ECP”, I responded. I detained him, called the incident in, and silently prayed to God. I felt my career that I just started a few months past, just ended for sure. I swear, within 1-minute later, Major Sanchez (my commander), the Flight Chief, my supervisor (Sgt Lawson), and a couple of staff Colonel’s ran to my post and walked the General to the building. Maj. Sanchez stayed behind at my post with me and stared at me. I felt like a dumn @$$ by that time. He told me ” Good job Airman Tieman. You did exactly what I expected you to do. Keep up the good work.” I saw the worried look on his face, but the Major earned my utmost respect for getting my back on this one. Can’t say what the other fellas thought, though I can probably guess. That incident was the most memorable highlight of my time in the Elite Guard. The one star was not assigned to SAC (Thank God he was not in my picture book) and was at Offutt on a short visit.Mark L. Tieman
Why would you salute the Governor of the State of Nebraska?This was a question I received one night at the Officers Club during a SAC Formal Dinner party. The Elite Guard were providing Security as well as parking attendants for arriving guests. This was one of the few time I wore the Elite Guard Uniform, Normally I was dressed in Civilian attire or standard AF uniforms to better blend in around base and downtown. It so happened that Nebraska had a new Governor his name was Bob Kerrey. I had been working with the Governors Security Staff for a while since the last Governor Charles Thone. The lead bodyguard (A Nebraska State Trooper) was named Andy (I can’t recall his last name) we had worked numerous events when both of our principles (or bosses) were attending the same function. I learned a lot about our new Governor from Andy, like he was prior military Navy, Lt. (Seal that is) and during Viet Nam his unit got into a serious fire fight and then Lt. Kerrey while seriously injured managed to get his team out and saved them from sure death. After this event Lt. Kerrey lost most of his (I think) right leg. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. When Andy first introduced me to the Governor I gave him a sharp salute, as was the proper thing to do. He returned the salute and thanked me, I told him that is was my honor to salute a Medal of Honor recipient. (see where this is going). That night I noticed the Governor’s car driving up to the Officers Club, and the young Airmen (Elite Guard Members) stationed as the Honor Guard snapped to attention. I stepped up and stated gentleman at my command, Present Arms. Of course the detail followed my order and gave the Governor a sharp salute. Governor Kerry came out of the car and walked past the Guard Members returning the salute. As he approached me he thanked me for this honor, which I replied sir it was our honor. He shook my hand and entered the Club. Later one of the Airman asked me when did we start saluting Governors, I replied we do not salute Governor s. I then told him that we always salute anyone who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I never had to call anyone to salute this Governor again. Later I talked with Andy and he told me about the Party the Governors (Navy Seal Brothers gave him after the election) but I was sworn to the utmost secrecy on that matter. Lets just say a good time was had by all, except for the Security Detail at the Governors Mansion.
New Gun for Dave.
One day I was speaking to Col. Larson (Gen. Davis Executive Officer) who asked me if I was happy with the gun I was using as a duty weapon. I told him that the Model 15, 38 special would not be my first choice in a defensive handgun. He then asked me what did I want to carry, I told Col. Larson that if I had only one weapon to pick from, the Model 15 was the only gun I would carry. Col. Larson then informed me that I was in a special position and that I could carry any gun I wanted, all I had to do was to pick one. I took about 1 second and told the Col. that during my first Police Officer days my weapon of choice was the Colt Model 1911. He said ok then that’s what we will get for you. He then asked if it would be concealable I said that the ones used by the AFOSI were small enough for that purpose. He then said OK we will get you two 1911’s one for duty and one that could be concealable. I also stated that the cross draw would not be a good choice and he told me to get what ever I needed and the Command Section would fit the bill. I was also given a Civilian Clothing Allowance of $500.00 to get Dress Suites & Sport Jackets, Slacks, and other needed items. Heck my ship had come in.
So with all this new money Linda and I went shopping. In the end I had three suits (that could be interchanged) two sport Jackets, dress shoes, slacks and enough left over for a shoulder holster for my new 45 acp. Now I could not wear a standard police gun belt with the Elite Guard uniform so I started wearing the standard lt. blue shirt and blue slacks. Now this did not make my Commander very happy, but I had full support of the Command Section and that was the end of that. When my two guns arrived it was like what to do now. Having carried a 1911 cocked and locked for three years before joining the Air Force, a quick briefing from the OSI gun guy and a trip to the range I was qualified in short order. The only real problem was clearing the gun. No one at the Guard could clear me so I was required to clear myself until I could get my back up qualified with the compact model (the real heart break if you know guns the chopped 45 was a Remington Rand) worth big bucks unaltered, oh well. Now understand a semi-auto was never carried with a round in the chamber, just ask the Army guys. But I carried it the same way the AFOSI did. That is one in the chamber, hammer cocked & locked. For about the first 3 months people would stop me and say Sgt. did you know your gun is cocked, I would respond yes I know.
Remember that $500.00 I got for clothes the good old boys in finance got the decibel point wrong so they said I owed them $4500.00, talk about a mess. They fixed it but my checks had to be picked up in person each payday at the Finance Office for about three months, that was a lot of fun. So I ended up with two 45 autos, and all the ammo I could shoot as long as the General was out of the area. Well I did spend a bunch of time getting a lot of practice. When I got to work with the Secret Service and they found out about a AF SP with a 45 instead a 38 they were interested in how I pulled that off. They had a good laugh over that one as they were stuck with issue guns. Of coarse I had to ask what they were carrying, I was told S&W Mod. 66 2 ½ inch. 357 mag. I said hey that’s a great gun, I had a Mod 19 same gun only blue, not stainless as the 66’s were. I was told if in a gun fight they would throw away the 66 and use their back up weapons. I asked what back up weapons. The agent I was talking too laughed and pulled out his Mini UZI. I thought about asking the Col. About getting one but decided not to press my luck. So after my career in the Air Force I ended up with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, my Duty gun, a Para. Ord. P-16 High Cap. 40 Cal. 1911. Off Duty what else a Officers Model Compact 1991-A1 45acp. Hey if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. I had the honor to work with some of the best Police Agencies in the world. But none of them stood up to the SAC Elite Guard. You were tops in my book and still are.
Aksarben (Nebraska spelled backwards) remember the great shows that they had their. During 1981 to 1985 I was able to see all the big shows, someone had to get the General & Mrs. Davis to the show. And having to be close to the General I also saw some of the show (OK all of it). I remember one show epically well. It was Rita Moreno & Bill Cosby. During intermission Gen. & Mrs. Davis were asked to Rita Moreno’s Dressing Room for drinks (I had a soda), General Davis asked her if she would like to come out and tour Offutt the next day. She stated that would be wonderful. Gen. Davis told her that he was flying out first thing in the morning but he was sure that Dave would love to give her the full tour. What could I say escorting a big star around the base, I said it would be my pleasure. So I was to pick her up at 0900 hrs. at her hotel and take her for a tour. To my surprise when she came out she was wearing a Las Vegas Police Jacket. She told me that she liked cops and had many such items. (Bingo I knew what I had to do). When we arrived she was escorted to the Command Section and I told her that I would join her in a few minutes. I then went to our supply Sgt. and asked for a Beret with a SAC Crest and when I told him why it was put together real fast. It was left at the front desk and I would pick it up on our way out to the Flight Line. She was very pleased and told me that she collected hats for use on stage, and that she would were it with pride. We toured all over the base with a special visit to KC-01 Gen. Davis KC-135 parked in it’s hanger. She got a complete tour of the aircraft by the SAC Command Crew and was thrilled. After a full day at the base I returned her to her hotel. During the drive She asked me if my wife and I were coming to the show tonight. I said no we did not have tickets. She said that she would see to it that tickets would be waiting for us at the lobby and she expected to see us that night. I told my wife Linda and she was ecstatic at the chance. So off we go for a wonderful show, front row center. At the intermission we were escorted to Rita’s Dressing Room. She had coffee and snacks waiting for us. She then picked up her phone, punched in a few numbers and said step over to my dressing room for a minute. A few seconds later there was a knock at the door and she asked me to get the door. To my surprise standing at the door was Bill Cosby, he entered and we were introduced and had a very nice visit. He asked if we had kids and we said yes, and we shared some of our kids adventures with him. He said that we would enjoy his show because it was all about having kids and how it would make an adult go crazy. During his show he kept looking at us and even mentioned us in his act. It was a very special night that we will never forget. Just some of the Bennies (no pun intended) of working for CINCSAC.
Transformer:Hello to all of my fellow Guardsmen. Bill asked me to relay some of the adventures or as in some cases misadventures of my time as Body Guard/Driver for General Bennie L. Davis. First I want you all to know that my four years working for General and Mrs. Davis were the best years I spent in my career. The General and his wife were the nicest people you could ever hope to work for or with. This story is how I happened to be selected as the CINC SAC Security Specialist back in 1981.Of course being the back-up Security Specialist for General Richard H. Ellis didn’t hurt my chances. But after I was chosen by the Command Staff it was time to meet the New Commander of SAC. This meeting took place in Quarters #16 (you know who’s house this was), and as I later found out this particular room was where most of the household decisions were made. It was the kitchen, there was a breakfast bar or table that was made in the middle of the room. I entered in my full Sac Guard regalia and was introduced to Gen. & Mrs. Davis, I still remember how nervous I was standing their in such company.
Then General Davis asked me to sit down and would I like a cup of coffee, I nervously said yes. A cup was placed in front of me and Gen. Davis asked me to tell him about myself. I must of stumbled around telling him about my career and the best choice I had made so far was joining the SAC Elite Guard. I remember him saying that he had heard nothing but high praise about our unit, I remember that proud felling you get when someone recognizes the outstanding job of a unit that you are proud to be a member of. Then the question I was dreading came up. Gen. Davis said that “I am a General Officer and now the CINCSAC, did he think that he should follow an order (or maybe a strong suggestion from a Staff Sergeant). And what would I do if something bad started, would I a Sergeant kick him in the seat of his paints, close the door and roar off like they did in the movies? I said yes, I would do what ever it took to ensure his safety and the safety of his family and if that took a ki ck in the paints I would do it.
Now this is where you would expect a long pause but to my surprise and relief Gen. Davis said he’ll do. And then started asking about my wife and family and said that he and Mrs. Davis were looking forward to meeting them.
Every Christmas they would buy my wife and our two boys something. I remember one Christmas they had got my boys some Transformers and Gen. Davis asked what heck was a Transformer. I attempted to explain and decided to show him what they did (big mistake never try to show another adult a toy when a kid is not around). Try as I might that darn thing would not turn into a Robot from a Car, I still can see us sitting at that same table both of us trying to decode a toy. After about 30 minutes and being late to the office I told him that the boys could work it out. That was some talk on the drive to HQ “a four star general and I can’t even get a toy right“, I laughed and said thank god SAC wasn’t using Transformers yet. He laughed and said yea no kidding.
Post AssignmentBack in 1993, then TSgt Givhan (Flight Chief) offered me the job of anybody’s life…. work 1200-1730 working the entry points into the Bldg ie, H, B, & the courtyard vehicle entrance. Where in the world can you earn paycheck with that schedule? Weekend & holidays off. I worked that schedule for only 8 months but it was absolutely great!
Thanks Mr. Givhan!
Post # 520Working Post # 520, it was an especially busy day with lots of traffic. I was alerted by Sgt Renfrand (sp) that a Major General was coming with a visitor. The Major General, who’s name I can’t remember, was a regular and easy recognizable. However, he was never very pleasant and always had this superiority air about him. As they approached, we came to attention and I immediately noticed that there was a problem with his visitors badge. I stopped the visitor and the Major General became visibly annoyed and impatient. This also caused a back up of personnel trying to enter the underground. Only a fellow Elite Guard can imagine how tense a moment this became. However, I followed procedures, called up to Sgt Renfrand, and waited until we reconciled the visitors badge and credentials. The visitor himself was quite polite and patient as this procedure was ongoing. However, the Major General was now voicing his great displeasure while I respectfully assured him that I was following established procedures.
It turned out that it was some kind of administrative glitch and easily resolved. After all was said and done, I apologized to both of them for any inconvenience. The civilian visitor, who was from the Pentagon, then made my day. He stated in a loud and determined voice (primarily designed for the Major General’s listening pleasure), something like “Airman, you don’t have to apologize to me…I am thoroughly impressed with the security procedures at this installation and I can attest that Pentagon security has a lot to learn from SAC…Thank You”. I give that guy credit because, while he was commending us and SAC, he was also indirectly taking his host to the woodshed. I wish I could remember who was with me at Post 520 that day…but I can’t. If I had to guess…I would guess that it was Dave Dougall.
CINC’s Aircraft PostAfter a long night in Omaha and little sleep, I had weekend guard duty the next morning in the hangar housing the CINC SAC’s (General Nazzaro’s) Boeing 707.I remember that his military plane was a gleaming white, blue and silver colored aircraft befit for royalty. It was cold outside and the overhead heaters were running full blast causing me to become very drowsy. No one was around or on duty. I was keeping myself busy looking through the SOP’s and pictures of the elite aircraft crew that were authorized to approach and enter the aircraft. I momentarily nodded of at the small table and was startled by a gruff senior master sergeant wearing the distinctive blue coverall’s given to the elite crew members. He dressed me down on the spot and I thought my career as a SAC Elite Guard would have been terminated by the end of my shift. However, he let it go at that and I never allowed myself to be unfit or unprepared for duty from that point on.
I learned a valuable lesson and it made me become an even better and more diligent elite guard for the remainder of my tour.
1967 – 1968
|Name to Remember:My story: Come on guys and gals, I know there are several stories that need to be shared. I’ll start this one off while y’all are thinking. I was working my usual post, which was the two person post leading to the underground when this major walked up to my post and presented his sac form 138. I didn’t know him so I did the usual inquiry by checking the front of the form along with the information on the back. I further checked the card file that was in the card file on my desk. I was still a little leery so I called the front desk, which had the master file that was on a rotary drum that contains the same information. Its was either Sgt.Gains or Sgt.Tyson who told me that he was clear and that he had been checked in the past. I thanked the Major for his patience and he said that he had been checked by several sac guards but they usually remembered him after that…here it comes, his name was Claude C. Balls.Wayne Jones
|The Generals StarsI was working the front door at SAC Hq. one Saturday morning when I observed Major General Knapp, who drove a government vehicle, park in his designated space out front of the main entrance. It was still dark so I walked outside, saluted, and called him by name. As he approached I noticed that his uniform was missing the stars. I said “General you don’t have your stars on.” He looked at his uniform and said “Damn I don’t have anything on it”. He was embarrassed and told me his wife had changed his uniform over and had not put anything back on the clean one. I said “You don’t have to explain to a A2C about anything.” I said I know you and saluted again. He went up the stairs to his office and returned to leave the building at noon carrying his coat as he left for Generals row. He still seemed a little embarrassed as he left and I did not have the heart to tell him that he was wearing brown shoes as well. Maybe Generals dress in the dark also to keep from waking their wives. Wayne Jones
1964 – 1966
CLEAR THE STAIRWELL
One day I was responding to an alarm near the cafeteria and as I started down the stairs yelled “CLEAR THE STAIRWELL”, well one individual didn’t move and I hit him with my arm knocking him back into the wall. After returning back up the stairs from the alarm I observed the Vice CINC with taco salad all over the front of his uniform. Thinking I was in for an a** chewing or demotion, the Commander asked me if I was the one who hit him which I replied yes. He said “good job not stopping, you did exactly what you where suppose to do”. I never looked at taco salad the same way after that, ha.
JIMMY L. GOCKEL
Drill Team Memories
Some of my fond memories of the SAC Elite Guard Drill Team (some blurred after 43 years):
Driving across Omaha toward Offutt AFB in bitter cold weather with the heater in my Chevy II station wagon turned off because the heat had a tendency to melt the polish off my spit shined Cocoran jump boots.
Marching down streets in countless small towns across Nebraska, big towns across the USA and especially inside of National Guard Armories (where the sounds would reverberate off the walls) and feel my chest swell with pride when the spectators would rise and salute when our Color Guard passed by with Old Glory held high.
Marching for what seemed like miles (always following the horse patrol and their road apples) in summer heat to help some town celebrate an event. Just when we were beginning to feel tired Bill Kilgore, from inside the flight would sing out with one of his many “Jody” calls. (He must have known a 100 – -some he reserved for the bus trip to and from – -because they were a little rough). Kilgore would sing out “Lift you head and lift it high – -SAC Drill Team is marching by” – – we’d get a burst of energy, stand a little taller – -and he’d continue “That’s the Air Force boogie – – what a crazy song” We’d swing along – – -30″ stride – -6″ to the front – -3″ to the rear – – the NCOIC would call out “Go-Between – – Harch ! ! and the crowd would go wild.
On a trip to a town in Ohio – – I believe it was when we went to visit Greg Gardner – – we stayed in the dorms of John Carroll University, a catholic school. We were told that when we ate in the cafeteria we would have a young lady to carry our tray and sit at the table to visit with us while we ate !!! Some of the Team (single guys, all) were salivating at the idea. At the first meal we learned that these young ladies were novices – -training to be NUNS ! ! They were learning servitude and humility – – they would not eat with us, but sat calmly and chatted with us while we did.
When we traveled to Greenville, SC for the funeral of Major Rudolf Anderson our host was Mr. Mackey of Mackey Mortuary. We were taken to the Mortuary and given a room usually used by the staff to relax in between our watches standing by the flag draped casket. Mr. Mackey came in and thanked us warmly for participating in the ceremony. He then asked us to look out the window across the street. There was a cafeteria over there. Mr. Mackey said “You boys get hungry – – go over there – – get something to eat, and tell them to put it on Mr. Mackey’s account. And don’t forget to get some of the peach cobbler with ice cream – – it’s the best in the South.” I recall that the hot, open faced, roast beef sandwiches (carved right off the steamship round in front of your eyes) were delicious.
Traveling to Fresno, CA to put on a demonstration drill for the Southern California Drum & Bugle Corps Competition. We did not compete we were just there to demonstrate. Frankly we were “Best in Show” – -no other team there could come close. One of the organizers ran over and asked ” What do I have to do to keep you here another day and night to perform at the awards ceremony ? He was told that he’d have to contact the OIC at Offutt AFB and make the arrangements. We thought that would be the end of it. The next day we were told that we were staying an extra day to perform at the awards ceremony that night. In my opinion that was the BEST performance that I witnessed by the Drill Team. The ceremony was in a large gym like building. As we marched in you could hear the “thump -thump -thump” of our boots in perfect cadence. The first time we swung our ’03s from our shoulders and thumped-thumped the floor with them the crowd stood and began to applaud. They never sat down again and kept up sustained applause. When we did the “Go-Between” the gasps were audible down on the floor where we were. When we concluded with the “Queen Anne Salute” the crowd gave a sustained standing ovation and wanted us to do an encore. We re-formed, was given the order that faced us toward the crowd and did a “Present Arms” with our rifles. Then we recovered, and marched off. I still think it was the BEST I have ever seen.
MM (who shall remain nameless) came to “D” building one day with Robin Hood green fatigues. Seems he had put his fatigues in the washer the night before, poured bleach on them and when he retrieved them they had big white splotches on them. His wife said “run to the store and get some dye.” He bought Green. The NCOIC marched him to Clothing sales for a new set of fatigues. MM was pleading all the time that he didn’t have the $$ but he was allowed to sign a voucher – -and have it taken from his pay a little at a time. MM also came to “D” building one day with short sleeve fatigues. It was horribly hot but short sleeved fatigues were not authorized. The NCOIC told him to fix them by the next day. The following day MM came in with the cut off sleeves re-attached with huge (black thread) stitches ! ! Another march to Clothing Sales.
Funeral DetailThe Drill Team was often assigned the extra duty of Funeral Detail. One cold, bleak, grey, overcast day a group of us gathered at the hanger, drew our ’03 Springfields and ammo and boarded the USAF blue bus warming up outside. We took about an hour ride to some small town in Nebraska. We went through the small town to the cemetery on the outskirts. This cemetery had a small plot that had been designated for veterans. We found the grave and waited on the bus for the funeral procession. A short time later a hearse pulled up and we got up from our seats, checked our uniforms, grabbed our rifles and waited for the door to open so we could file off and line up. The driver of the hearse came to the door just as it opened and asked if some of us could assist in getting the casket to the graveside. We left our rifles on the bus and piled off. We lined up on either side of the hearse and prepared to receive the flag draped coffin. The casket slid out and we solemnly carried it to the grave. We placed the casket on the grave and as we started back to the bus to retrieve our rifles the hearse driver said “Thanks, men” and started toward the hearse. Our detail NCOIC stopped him and asked what was going on. The driver said “This man had no friends or family. He retired from the military years ago and spent the last year in a VA hospital eaten up with cancer. The VA made the funeral arrangements, and the AM Vets supplied the flag. There was no viewing and no service. I’m done and I’m leaving.” We just looked at each other and without a word passing between us we decided that this veteran would not be abandoned in his last hour. I was “elected” to say a few words. We sang a hymn familiar to all of us – – I think it was “Amazing Grace.” I recall that I didn’t know anything about the man except his name and the dates of his service to his Country. I used that in my presentation and called his name frequently. I remember that I spoke about dedication to duty, service to Country, and life after death. After the 21 gun salute and Taps, the flag was folded. The hearse driver prior to his departure had told us to . . .”just leave the flag on top of the casket, the cemetery workers will get it later.” We decided that was not going to happen. We carefully folded the flag, got back on the bus and drove to the entrance of the cemetery where we found a group of workers waiting for us to leave so they could finish up and go home. We solemnly filed off that bus, one of the Team cradling the flag, marched up to that group and told them about the dedication of the deceased, and presented the flag. We “snapped to” and saluted as one of the workers took off his hat and accepted the flag. He was a man of about 60, probably had worked at the cemetery for quite some time but a tear rolled down his cheek as he took the flag. He very quietly said “Thank you.”
As we reboarded the bus a light snow had begun to fall and it was a very cold, bleak, overcast, raw day for the drive back to Offutt. As I recall, contrary to most outings, we were very quiet on that ride back.
J. Stuart Cundiff
VIP Security DetailIn 1963, while serving on the Drill Team I was assigned guard duty for the VOQ for a movie premiere. The movie, “A Gathering of Eagles” starring (of all people) Rock Hudson, was premiered at Offutt AFB. The premise of the movie was a SAC Colonel was sent to straighten out a Bomber Wing. He did so with wholesale reassignments and a firm hand.
The night of the premiere there were more General officers and full colonels than you can imagine, from all over SAC, on TDY to Offutt for a conference and viewing of the film. (Allow me to digress. At that time there were 121 full colonels and 22 General and Flag officers assigned to Offutt, most of them assigned to the JSTPS – -Joint Strategic Target Planning Squadron. PLUS, one Navy Captain (0-6) that insisted that since we were at “war”, as in Cold War, his rank was equal to a Rear Admiral – – -because the Navy doesn’t have Rear Admirals except in time of war. He didn’t want to wear his SAC Form 138 – -General Officers were not required to do so if they were known/recognized by the guards. I remember a running battle with him over wearing of his SAC Form 138.) There seemed to be at least twice that many full Generals, full colonels and their staff visiting Offutt at that time.
To continue with the “Gathering of Eagles” story, I was assigned to be a roving guard around the grounds of the VOQ. During that time I noticed a bunch of men in civilian clothes carrying briefcases and small suitcases in and out of the rooms. I asked somebody who these men were and was told “They’re Tech agents for the OSI.” That perked my curiosity so I engaged them in conversation. I had had some contact with OSI agents during previous assignments, much not much. I followed these guys from room to room, watched them work and talked with them about their job. They were sweeping the rooms for “bugs.”
Within a week I had applied to be an OSI agent. I was eventually accepted, went to the AFOSI Academy in Wash, DC and returned to Offutt for 2 weeks for out-processing and then departed for McConnell AFB in Wichita, KS. While on the road with my wife and two sons we stopped for a bite to eat. The waitress was crying and everybody seemed sad. I asked what had happened and was told “President Kennedy has been shot and killed in Dallas, TX.”
I spent the next 17 years in OSI, retired in Jan ’80 and became a minister. I pastored for 8 years and, (since June, ’89) now oversee 25 churches and 4 ethnic missions (Korean, Japanese, 2 Hispanics) in south central Indiana.J. Stuart Cundiff
The January, 1963 HQ. USAF IG Penetration Attempt:
One of the more famous stories involving the SAC Elite Guard was the attempted penetration of Hq SAC by the USAF Inspector General. That story has been kept in our minds because of one well known photograph.
The following account of that incident is taken from interviews with Billy Davis, Joe Stewart, Bob Kelly, Bill Schumacher, Harold Clary (CWO, ret) and accounts of conversations with the late David “Scotty” Scott by Bob Kelly, John Achelpohl and Bill Marshall. (If you heard a different story from Scotty, let us know.) All minor aspects of the story do not jive precisely – it was 43 years ago – but the basics are believed to be sound. (Note: There was at least one other major incident involving Sergeant David Scott that occurred at the main entrance. That event has often been confused with the events of this story.)
Sometime in late 1962, the HQ USAF Inspector General (thought to be a Brigadier, or more likely, Major General Blanchard) approached General Power, CinC SAC, “betting him” that he and his USAF staff could gain access to SAC Headquarters without the SAC Elite Guard knowing it. Although no one knows it was an actual “bet”, General Power accepted the challenge, not knowing exactly when the penetration attempt would take place. Nor was the SAC Elite Guard alerted.
To “hedge their bets” the USAF IG team requested, and obtained, blank SAC Form 138, Restricted Area Badges. Harold Clary related to John Achelpohl that, under duress and, great personal distress, he made the blank forms available to the IG team and, following strong, specific orders, “kept his mouth shut.”
I need to stop here and, for those of you who came after the SAC Form 138 was replaced by the AF Form 1199 and Entry Authority Lists (EALs), explain how the SAC Form 138 restricted area badge system worked (at least where Bldg 500/501 was concerned.) The “how” of the ‘system’ was critical to the SAC Elite Guard’s success in thwarting this penetration attempt.
When the SAC Form 138 Restricted Area Badge was still in use, SAC Headquarters used the following control procedure: Applicants for SAC Form 138s brought the properly approved paperwork to Pass & Registration (located immediately outside of the SAC Gate.)
The restricted area badge was manufactured as follows:
Pertinent identifying information was typed into an “addressograph” device (in simple terms, like a big dog tag machine) which prepared a metal printing plate. Depending upon the individual’s areas of access, the back of the SAC Form 138 and up to four identical cards was printed from that plate. One interesting aspect of this “archaic” method (replaced by AF Form 1199s and cumbersome Entry Authority Lists (EALs) is that if a single flaw appeared on the metal plate (perhaps a letter ‘P’ was miss struck) that flawed letter ‘P’ would appear on the back of the restricted area badge and on each of the individual cards which had been made from that device.
Then, a special Polaroid camera with divided lenses took identical photos of the individual. These identical photos were placed on the restricted area badge and on each of the cards. This meant that the same, exact photo and any printing flaw would be found on both the restricted area badge and on each of the cards.
Where entry to Bldg 500/501 was authorized, those cards were hand carried to Bldg 500 by SAC Elite Guard personnel. One of the cards was placed in a large revolving card holder at the “A” Corridor Visitor Control Point; The Master File. Consequently, everyone with approved access to Bldg 500/501 should have a card on file.
As the “single badge” system was used for access to Bldg 500, each entry controller would inspect the individual’s badge, and if it appeared bona fide, entry was granted. If the entry controller had at some time, already checked a person’s badge and could accurately call that person by rank and name, he was not required to personally check the badge for entry. However, whenever an entry controller had questions of an individual badge/badge holder, he called the Main Visitor Control Point and had the master file checked.
The second and third cards were delivered to the Main and Alternate Entrances to Bldg 501.
Again, everyone with the area code for Bldg 501 should have a card on file at those posts. If the entry controller could personally recognize an individual by rank and name, and knew that a card was on file, he was not required to check that individual. (Note: Wise individuals went out of their way to get to know the regular entry controllers and, more importantly, have the entry controller get to know them. This could prove useful when there were long lines of individuals waiting to have their badges checked against the card for entry.)
The fourth card was placed at the main entrance to the SAC Command Post. During Normal command post configuration, entry was by properly annotated SAC Form 138 and the card on file. Again, if the entry controller personally knew the individual, he was not required to check the badge. (Higher command post security configurations required different procedures.)
This is the entry control system in effect 8 January 1963 when the USAF Inspector General’s team gave their best shot at penetrating the SAC Command Center.
Back to the story: On January 7th, Sgt David Scott (1936-2005 R.I.P.) was working the Theater Entrance. Now it often seemed as if Scotty knew everyone and everyone knew Scotty. It therefore might not have seemed out of place when an individual in a US Navy officer’s uniform approached the Theater Entrance with a “Hi, Scotty.” (Note: Bob Kelly recalls Scotty telling him on that day that the individual was a naval officer. When the next day’s penetration was thwarted, then SSgt Billy Davis does not remember a naval officer being involved.) A minor detail. Scotty greeted the individual, but as he did not know him, checked his SAC Form 138 before allowing him entry. But something troubled Scotty! This officer knew him, but he didn’t know the officer! It bugged Scotty for the rest of the afternoon. At the end of his shift, Scotty immediately went to the Master Card file at the Main Visitor Control point. He could not find a card on that individual! Bob Kelly remembers that Scotty shared the incident with him that evening. Scotty then went home, but still troubled. (Note: There is no indication; no one recalls if Scotty voiced his concern to anyone other than Bob Kelly.) When John Achelpohl was interviewing Bill Schumacher, Bill remembered that the success in detecting the penetration attempt was primarily because of Scotty’s early detection.
From Billy Davis, then SSgt Davis, NCOIC SAC Security: “At about 9:00 A.M. (on January 8th) I started to go out to the back gate (Post 511D) to tell the guard something. As I was going through the cafeteria underneath the second overhead light, I met a Bird Colonel and a major. As they passed under the light, I noticed that the Security Clearance Letter on their badges reflected light strangely. I asked them for their badges and told them to proceed ahead of me to the Control Point. As we got there, I told them to proceed ahead to the door on the left and enter the little side room. (Most of us remember this as the driver’s standby room. It was actually the old “Officer of the Day” office). The two apprehended officers did exactly as they were told.” Billy immediately got TSgt Bill Schumacher, SAC Elite Guard superintendent, involved.
Theater Entrance: At about this same time, over at the Theater Entrance, Scotty was again on duty. The same officer again approached seeking entry, and again called Scotty by name. Scotty stopped the individual, took his badge, and since the badge showed access authorized for the underground, called his friend Bob Kelly, who was working the main entrance to the underground. Bob says that Scotty had called his post because the phone to the Main Visitor Control Point – and the master file – was busy. (It could also have been because Bob Kelly had already been alerted to Scotty’s ‘previous problem’ and would respond quicker.
Main Entrance to Underground: Sgt Bob Kelly was working the incoming side (with the card file) when Scotty’s call came in. SSgt Joe Stewart was working the opposite side monitoring incoming traffic as backup. While Bob was checking his card file for the individual Scotty was detaining, two individuals, one a colonel, attempted to push through the post. Joe Stewart remembers that, as the individuals appeared to be trying to go past the entry controller (Bob Kelly) Joe stopped the colonel by grasping his badge. The colonel pulled his badge free and turned to Bob Kelly. Kelly remembers the colonel turning to him with some comment about not having time to get checked. The colonel attempted to give Kelly a quick flash of his badge and proceed. Exactly what all was said is forgotten, but Joe Stewart pushed the alarm button and moved out to, along with Bob Kelly, take control of the two officers.
SAC Theater Entrance: Somehow, while this was all going on, Bob Kelly was able to relate to Scotty at the Theater Entrance, that his man did not have a card on file, and that he (Bob) and Joe Stewart had something strange going on. Scotty immediately hung up the phone, apprehended the bogus officer and called for back up.
Meanwhile, at the Underground Entrance, after Joe Stewart and Bob Kelly had taken control of both officers and they were “spread eagled” on the wall, with pedestrian traffic halted, it was found that neither individual had a card on file. From Bob Kelly: “Prior to the arrival of the SAT, a Colonel named Shirey has just got off the elevator and took it upon himself to assist us by stopping everyone from approaching our area. Every SAC Guard knew Col Shirey. He was the Director of Operations in the underground and was a very good friend of the Guard Force.”
SAC Theater Entrance: When help arrived, Scotty took his detained individual around the outside of the building and to the same holding area (driver’s waiting room) as Billy Davis’ two individuals and those from Joe Stewart and Bob Kelly’s post.
Billy Davis remembers both Bill Schumacher and himself running to the Main Entrance to the Underground only to find that incident was resolved. They were then told of trouble at the Theater Entrance and headed there. Of course, Scotty had already left with his apprehended individual. With three, almost simultaneous, security incidents occurring, there could not help but have been some confusion.
Billy Davis continues: “Sergeant Schumacher and I already knew that something was drastically wrong, because we were unable to identify these people with any organization and there was no record of their badges being made. (Remember the master file at the Visitor Control Point?) We had already notified General Power and Lt Gen Griswald, as well as the SAC IG. We also notified the Base Provost Marshall who had arrived on the scene.”
“At about 10:00 A.M., the Colonel we had there (one of the apprehended pentraters) asked if he could make a phone call. (Remember, at least one of these incidents was a “Seven High” incident. Collectively, declaring a “Red Skin” would not have been out of the question.) We allowed him to do so. He called two more of his cohorts and told them to stand down because their mission had failed. He then asked if he could make a call to Washington, D.C, to the Pentagon. We allowed him to do so. (Billy Davis does not remember the name of the general officer.) The colonel told the general that their mission had failed in an unbelievable fashion. He gave us very high praise. In a few minutes we received a call from General Power who told us we could release the people we were holding.
When we met with General Power, Schumacher, Scotty, Kelly and I, (see below) we were informed by General Powers that he was aware of the penetration attempt, but was not sure of the exact time it would take place. He told us that he believed that we were the best troops in the United States Military Service. It was at this time that General Power informed them (Schumacher, et al) that he was approached by the Inspector General from the Pentagon betting him that he and his people could gain access to SAC Headquarters, without our knowing it. General Power had a smile on his face from ear to ear. He was well satisfied.
(I have an observation from 43 years later. What I see as a great irony is that the USAF IG, through the use of field grade officers, were hoping to “bully” their way in through rank intimidation. Of course, with some 17 general officers and hundreds of full colonels working in the building, there wasn’t much chance of that succeeding. It didn’t.
Now a few words about SSgt Joe Stewart. Joe was recruited by John Degan at Castle AFB, CA in 1962. But that was not Joe’s first experience with Hq SAC security. Joe arrived at Offutt AFB in 1950 and was serving on the Hq SAC security detail in 1953 when he took his discharge to obtain a college degree. Joe then reentered the USAF ending up at Castle in 1962. I make special attention of Joe due to the following.
There is an unfortunate, but necessary, historical correction needed to end this saga. The famous photograph of General Power shaking Scotty’s hand, while TSgt Schumacher, SSgt Davis and Sgt Kelly watch, sadly lacks the presence of SSgt Joe Stewart. Joe was the ranking man at the main entrance to the underground during that event, and, although on the supporting post, with Bob Kelly on the phone, played a critical roll in teaming up with Bob Kelly to control the situation and take those individuals into custody. Had the penetration succeeded, Joe would have been the first to go down. That SSgt Joe Stewart did not receive the same praise and accolades granted the others (and held in our memories by that photograph) is a sad, unfortunate fact.
After 43 years, there is no telling how that oversight occurred, but it is now time to say, “That was one hell of a job, Joe! Thanks”
The CINC’s DriverKen Winters was a quiet, unassuming, nice guy. In October 1962 he was the driver for the CINCSAC, General Thomas S. Power. Ken was a 3 stripe “Buck Sgt’. (A1C). At the time the general lived in a big house on General’s row on Offutt AFB. The general’s staff car was a long, four door, black Cadillac with red lights in the grill. It may have also been equipped with a siren, I don’t remember. On the day that the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted the general was in quarters and Ken and the Cadillac were at the curb awaiting his emerging from the house to return to Building 500. Ken was standing on the sidewalk, alongside the open back door of the vehicle. All of a sudden the door of the house burst open and General Power came bustling down the walk. He told Ken to “shut the door, get in the front – – -I’m driving ! !” Ken jumped in the passenger side, General Power jumped in the drivers side, turned on the red lights and roared across the base toward SAC Headquarters. On the way, at speeds reaching 75 mph, he turned to Ken and said “Sgt, is that pistol loaded?” Ken replied, “Well – – -Yes Sir !” The General then said “If anybody tried to stop me or hinder me in any way your orders are to shoot to kill. Do you understand?” Ken said that he understood. The Cadillac sped into the parking lot adjacent to Building 500 and screeched to a halt adjacent to the Alternate Entrance to the Underground, a long metal tube like affair with a long ramp. General Power jumped from the vehicle, motioned Ken to follow, and left the car sitting there. The general was almost running as he went down the long ramp. It was still early in the am and the Elite Guard had not yet been posted therefore a “White Hat” was on the post. This White Hat heard running feet and stood up from the desk, held up his hand in a “stop” gesture and started to say something. Ken had his hand on his cross draw .38 and was yelling, “It’s O.K. it’s the CINCSAC with a guard ! ! ” The White Hat hesitated for just a moment then said loudly “Sir, I recognize the CINCSAC, General Power, you may pass.” All this time General Power and Ken had not even slowed their hurried pace down the ramp. The General, with Ken one step behind ran past the White Hat and on down into the bowels of Building 500. Ken was to later state that 16 hours later he was relieved from guarding General Power but for all that time he stuck very close and was reminded once or twice , whenever the general would go from one part of the underground to another, “Sgt, remember your orders.”
No one was sure what was happening and General Power knew that the fate of the world hung in the balance. The Elite Guard was a vital part of the outcome.
This story was related to me by Ken Winters one day as we were hanging around “D” Building telling war stories about the Cuban Missile Crisis. It saddened me to see that Ken was dead at such at early age.
Dr. J. Stuart Cundiff
Post 502 – ADT OperatorAs a new Staff Sergeant in early 1974 on Day Shift, I was training as an ADT monitor. The morning shift was fast and furious as 400 or so of the alarms were opened in about an hour. Each person calling identified themselves and the drop they were opening. We would give them part of the their code and they would respond with the remainder, then enter their areas and turn off the alarm. We would stamp the card with the time and write the number of the person opening, next to it. After a few weeks, I was doing the opening by myself, for the first time.
I answered one call as usual, “SAC IDA, Sgt Wimbrow,” and heard, “This is Major BumF**k opening 269.” I thought, yeah right, and just hung up, knowing one of the other guards was messing with me. The phone we used had a four line switch on it, you answered one, hung up and went to the next. The lines were lit constantly for over an hour it took to open all the alarms. About 10 calls later, I answered, “SAC IDA, Sgt Wimbrow.” The voice on the line said “This is Major Bumf**k, I want to open 269.” I replied, “I don’t have time for this,” and hung up. I answered the phone and opened alarms for about 10 minutes when there was a knock on the door.
It was divided at the time, the top was one way glass and the bottom was wood. I looked out and saw a Major, red faced but calm, standing there. I looked at his name tag and opened the top of the door, my face as red as his, but not for the same reason. “Sir, I apologize. I just KNEW that one of the guys was messing with me.” He looked at me and said, “I understand but I don’t want it happen again.” “Yes Sir!” I said, “I assure you it will not.” He then half grinned and walked away.I went back to opening alarms and when he called again, I looked at drop 269 and found his name about half way down the sheet. I gave MAJOR BALMFALK a part of his code. He replied with the remainder and said, “Thank you. Have a good day Sergeant.” I never forgot his name.
Post 503 – “SAT Team respond!”
It was a day shift on a weekend. A quiet summer day at Offutt AFB. “A” Flight was on duty.
We were getting breaks for coffee or lunch, I forget which it was, and I was in the Alarm Monitors office grabbing a smoke. Sgt Bill Gdovic was breaking in a new Guardsman to become an ADT Monitor and the call came that we all loved.
“Silent Alarm, Alternate Entrance- SAT Team respond.”
Sgt Gdovic grabbed the handcuffs and additional ammunition, I looked for and grabbed some additional ammunition and followed him out the front door.
We were both on a dead run. When Sgt Gdovic hit the front door, it hit back.
His body pivoted over the center push bar and he went through the plate glass door.
A1C Hooks, (his name was Benjamin but we knew him as Larry) was tossed the handcuffs and additional ammunition. From the front door, white gloves and all, A1C Hooks and I continued our run to the alternate entrance in the SAT Response.
When we arrived at the guard post at the alternate entrance we were greeted by our Flight Chief, SSgt. Charles J. (Charlie) Lee who gave us a time of a little less than two minutes.
As we walked back to the front door of Building 500 we found that Sgt Gdovic was being tended to by the nurse and an ambulance had been called to transport him to the Earling Berquist (base) Hospital. Other Guardsmen were busy sweeping up the broken glass, and CE was called to repair the front door.
Later we found out that Sgt Gdovic had a deep cut on the side of his head and had almost severed his right ear completely.
Returning to duty the next day I found Sgt Gdovic sitting at the Alarm Monitors position with a bottle of APC’s, a cup of soda, and white bandage covering most of his head.
He offered to give palm readings for a fee and was in pretty good spirits with the beret on top of his white “turban” bandage.
Later, Gen. Bruce K. Holloway, CINC SAC, found the incident report, sent his aid Maj. Chou to see Bill and ordered that he be given a duty excuse until he could wear the beret without the “turban”.
When you attend the 2006 reunion you may ask Bill Gdovic for his version of what happened, but this is the way I remember it.
DRILL TEAMAs one of our “additional duties, the drill team would perform military honors at funerals. Here are a couple of stories I’m sure others that were there will remember (and choose to claim the 5th amendment).
We had arrived early and were standing around the pond at a North Omaha cemetery. We decided to skip some rocks in the pond. There were a number of swans on the opposite side. One of the detail members threw a beautiful skipper that wound up going into the group of swans. We then heard a loud “thunk” and saw one of the swans flip over (literally). He had taken the rock in the side of his head (odds about 10 million to one!). When we performed at the funeral, as the command fire was given, the rest of the swans honked (or whatever the term is) as if to say, pop a few rounds for our buddy that just took one to the head!
Another funeral found the team members in a remote Iowa cemetery on a very cold winter day. The wind wasn’t really bad but it was COLD. Anyway, as we waited, the grave was still being dug and we could see the hearse and cars coming up the road. Remember, this was Iowa and we could see quite a ways down the road. We “guesstimated” about 10 minutes so a couple of us grabbed a shovel and helped finish the grave. At least it helped us stay warm!
|Post 524 – TS/SIOP ESIWith Linebacker One in full swing it seemed like no other name went on the roster for Post 524 than mine, a rather boring post except during Command Post Shift Change, and the secretary in Colonel Robert Shaw’s office at the end of the hall, whew…..! Col Shaw (DOCC I think) and Col Eade (DOC), often would come out or down and chit chat a bit. Col Shaw became somewhat of a mentor. On one particular day, there had been no breaks for whatever reason. Mother Nature was calling but I soldiered on for a couple of hours, noon passed and no lunch yet. I picked up the hot line, Bob Krygier, my squad leader at the time, could only tell me to hang in there, they would get to me the first “A” Badge that was available. Another hour went by, Bob Krygier, apologized and swore someone was coming. Eternity passed and no relief, the hell with lunch. Col Shaw then returned and saw me pacing the hall, there was a newbie SSgt on 523 so the Chinese Fire Drill Post swap with 526 covering 523 was out of the question. I asked Col Shaw if the Command Post might be going Normal anytime soon. He didn’t think so, asked why, trusting him not to run the official route, I told him I really needed to pee and there was no relief. He offered to stand watch but I wasn’t comfortable with that and said thanks but I’ll make it. Col Shaw went into his office, in plain sight of me and picked up the Command Post phone. “The Command Post is now in Normal Configuration”! Lid to the 462’s closed and off to the restroom, AUGH! I walked out of the restroom relieved 523 and 526. When they return I went back inside ant there of the 524 counter were three box lunches from the Command Post, ran those out to the other two post and came back for mine. Col Shaw was standing at the desk smiling, I said thank you and he returned to his office and picked up the Command Post phone….”The Command Post is now in Top Secret/ESI configuration”. I grabbed the ADT hot line and told Krygier to forget it, “Don’t even tell me” said Bob.Jim Burton
1965-1982 (three tours)
Funeral Detail ContingencyWhile serving on the Drill Team on at least one occasion we disassembled our Springfield 03s, steel wooled all the wood and gave them a new coat of varnish. When the white slings became too soiled and grubby to clean up we would get new ones. We always wanted our rifles looking good, but that did not mean they always functioned properly when on funeral datails.
On occasion a bolt would jam or a round would fail to discharge. We were advised when this occurred to just go through the motions and nobody would notice. After all there were 7 of us on a firing detail.
On funeral details our NCOIC always wore his .38 and as we were checking out our weapons on one of my first funerals I saw Sgt. Craig loading his .38. I asked, “Sarge, why are you loading your piece?” He very casually responded with, “what would we do if all 7 of our .03s failed to discharge?” I actually had visions of that happening and Sgt. Craig pulling his piece, pointing it in the air, and firing.
Fortunately I don’t think it ever happened!
|Post 520APrior to my PCS to Nam in early 68 I had worked post 520A for approximately 10 months and during that time almost daily General Nazzaro CINCSAC would walk through my post on his way to the command post. Usually we would get a call the CINC was on his way and I would be prepared to afford him the courtesy of my best pose of attention and a greeting. Usually he would never look up from the floor or acknowledge my presence, however one day prior to my leaving for Vietnam he stopped dead in his tracks looked me directly in the eye and said “How are you doing today Sgt Marshall” I was so dumfounded that he even knew who I was let alone my name that I mumbled something incoherently and with that he turned on his heels and continued to look at the floor as he continued on his way to the underground. It made me aware that while he did not seem to pay attention he did know his Elite Guards.Bill Marshall
Dana Point, CA
|Becoming a member of the SAC Elite Guard
It was the summer of 1969. I had just returned from serving a year at DaNang Air Base in Viet Nam.I was looking at my new orders to go to Grand forks, North Dakota. Remember that I was young and had more balls then I had Brains back then. It came to me that Offutt Air Base was a lot warmer then North Dakota. With that thought in mind I drove out to Offutt and asked the guard at the gate, who was in charge of this Base? The guard at the gate told me that General Bruce K. Holloway was. I asked were might I find him? He said to go to Building 500 and ask the Guard at the front door to see if he was in. Now think abought this for a min. I was only a Sergeant at the time. I drove my car up to the front door of Bldg 500 got out and said may I speak to General Holloway. I think the Guard didn’t know what to say, so he took me to the front desk and asked the sergeant at the desk if he knew if the General was in. The sergeant asked me my name and rank and then made a phone call to the office of General Holloway. All I know is after that, another guard came out to escort me to the Generals office. When I entered his office I simply said that I had just returned from Viet Nam and I thought that being stationed at Offutt in place of Grand forks would be a lot warmer and closer to home.General Holloway asked me what did I do in Viet Nam? I told him that I was in the Air Police unit. Fine, he said, I will cut you new orders today to join the SAC Elite Guard.I never saw Grand forks, and I spent the next two years at Offutt.Ed Blaine
|Parade DutyHaving been on duty with the SAC Elite Guard and having recently made the E-5 stripe, I was chosen to represent the Air Force as the leading Honor Guard in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Omaha.Three other sergeants accompanied me to the parade and lucky for us it wasn’t snowing but it was a miserable, cold and drizzling day. We lead the parade as the drizzle increased to a light rain and the parade officials had already abandoned the main reviewing box as we marched by.
Needless to say at the end of the parade the crowd was sparse with a few people watching. Not wanting to just furl the colors and walk off, we elected to stop in the middle of the street and pay honors to the colors as we furled them and slipped the protective socks over the Air Force flag and Old Glory.
While standing there at full attention, saluting the colors as they slowly wrapped around the poles, we noticed out of the sides of our eyes the public stopping and also paying homage to the colors. Soon, windows were opening on the buildings around us and people started cheering from the upper-stories as we finished the ceremony. We finished to loud and boisterous cheering and applause from the crowd that had gathered to watch the furling of the colors.
We walked off into the crowd to find our vehicle with people patting us on the back. I do believe we walked a bit taller since that day.
Michael L. Cunningham
|POST 505 – MAIN ENTRANCEI was on the Front Door of SAC Hdqtrs just after lunch on a nice warm spring day when the gorgeous secretaries finished their lunches under the Atlas Missile and were returning to their work areas. As you all know, it was required to step outside to salute Generals when they entered the building. Well, I was intent on watching the lovely ladies walking past the Control Point and in my peripheral vision I saw this Star about 3 feet in diameter…. on the shoulder of General Eisenhart, who was standing inside the building – glaring at me… I immediately had visions of my newly acquired stripe flying off my shoulder! He glared at me some more, looked at the secretaries, looked back at me and winked! Went on his way… Wayne Kester, Drill Team
Nine Mile Falls, WA
|Post 505 – GENERAL OFFICERS:I sincerely hope to make the 2006 reunion. Humility dictates that I thank some of the NCOs I worked for and was associated with in the SAC Elite Guard as it is obvious they had a significant part in where I am today. I still try to emulate the likes of those we served to protect, like General Russell Dougherty (Ret) and MG Doyle Larson. I worked nightshift, would see GEN Dougherty leave at night and see him come back to work in the morning before I got off shift. This was not a rare occurrence.MG Larson would take the time on Christmas Eve to visit airmen on duty around the base. He would bring his daughters with him and have baked treats.
Almost thirty years later and much of the experience still sticks.,; much more than realized at the time.
Some poet said youth is wasted on the young.
Stephen D. Hensley
|Post 506 – “H” WING:I will tell of an interesting story that occurred at Thanksgiving of 1967. The SAC surgeon general and his wife came to “H” wing on that Thanksgiving evening while I and, I believe, Gary Assmus were on post. The Major General placed a TV at our post and turned it on. His wife placed a platter of cookies at our post, and then the General gave us a “Direct order” “do not turn this TV off and you will eat these cookies.”Staff Sergeant Guerra came by to check on us and asked what we were doing by watching TV and eating on post. I then stated that the General had given us the direct order and asked Guerra if he wanted to rescind the general’s order. Staff Sergeant Guerra made a quick getaway…………………………
|GOOD FIRST IMPRESSIONS When I first arrived at Offutt and finished my inprocessing, etc., and was cleared for duty, I went to Bldg 500 – in regular uniform – to meet the “D” Flight NCOIC, SSgt Moore, who was working Swing Shift. We had a routine “nice to have you” “glad to be here” type conversation and I left, saying I would report for duty the next day. I did report for swing shift. But it was change over day, and “D” Flight was starting their first Mid-shift. Needless to say, an unidentified sergeant in SAC Elite Guard uniform showing up at the front door saying he was ready to go to work, caused a good deal of consternation. I was politely, but very firmly, guided to the OD office and detained until it was straighten out.John Achelpohl
|The Ed Sullivan Show
Larry W. Felts
|Post 508 – THEATER ENTRANCE:I was stationed with the SAC Elite Guard from Nov 63 to Nov 65. One of the posts to which I was frequently assigned was the Theater Entrance side of the Hq. I knew thousands of people that I called by name as they passed thru. One afternoon this full colonel in uniform came up to my post. I had never seen him before and he presented me with a brand new badge which identified him as Colonel Holland. One of the codes was wrong. I told the colonel that there was a problem with his badge and I would have someone come down and escort him to the main desk to resolve the problem. The colonel looked at me and said “Your captain hand-walked this badge thru processing yesterday and assured me there would be no problems, that it had been done right and that is why he personally took care of it, just so there wouldn’t be any mistakes like this”. The colonel was obviously thoroughly irritated but kept his cool. It was just that the tone of his voice kind of cut thru you like a razor blade. He wanted to know what the problem was and I told him that I could not discuss it with him, just that there was a problem with the badge. This was going to be one of those kinds of issues that even if you are right, you had better be completely right, security wise, demeanor, tone of voice, firmness of voice and conviction. The colonel then informed me that he is the SAC Inspector General for Security Police and I told him that the last I heard the SAC Inspector General for the Security Police was Colonel Methaney. Colonel Holland advised me that he was Colonel Methaney’s replacement and said that he would go up to the Main Desk in the lobby and get this matter settled. He started to leave and I told him that he was not free to go, that he would have to wait until the NCOIC of the guard arrived. The colonel just looked at me and said “You had better be right, Airman Swartz, you just better be right”. I told him “I am”. Usually this entrance is busy but during this period of time hardly anyone went by and those that did, I just looked to make sure they had their badge and called them by name and they went on thru. I just basically looked at the colonel and he looked at me for what seemed like a long time (5-8 minutes). Then everybody showed up at once, people from the Guard and the IG’s Office. They verified he is the new SAC IG for Law Enforcement and escorted him up to the office to start the badge processing all over again. About a week later I received one of the best comp letters of my career from Col Holland. The basic tenet of the SAC Elite Guard: “Know your job, do it, and do it right” and you’ll never have to worry about repercussions proved to be true. Newell “Sandy” Swartz
|BUILDING 500, MAIN ENTRANCE:One of my memories is of a humorous event (although at the time it was “terrifying”) while I was still in my initial 30-day training status. I was on the front door on a Sunday. A ratty old car pulled up and parked in front (General Officer’s parking) and this old guy in “farm clothes” got out and headed toward the door. As he approached, my mind raced with thoughts of an attempted penetration on the “new kid”, or worse, some guy that didn’t honestly know where he was. When he got to the front door, I asked, “Excuse me sir, do you have a badge?” In response, he IMMEDIATELY told me I had a LOT more memory training ahead. He said, “How long have you been on the Guard, Airman?” I told him, “Less than 30-days Sir.” He was very polite and said, “Well, my name is Major General Knapp, SAC Chief of Staff, and you are?” I told him “A1C Keeney-SIR.” He said, “glad to meet you Airman Keeney”, showed me his RAB and went inside. From then on, EVERY time he saw me, he said “Good Day Airman Keeney. How’s the Guard business today?” and then smile as he walked by (without his badge being displayed.)
Edwin “Ed” Keeney
|GENERAL OFFICERS:Lt General Harris, the Vice CinCSAC, frequently drove himself to work in Bldg 500 on weekends and parked his POV at the curb by the front entrance. Policy required us to post a guard at the command section whenever it was open after duty hours. On one particular Saturday, General Harris said he wanted to watch a football game so told the guard to lock him in the office complex and he would call whenever he was ready to leave. “A” Flight, led by Richard Brown (1962-1963) came on duty for the swing shift and was briefed that General Harris was in the command section. The airman at the control point was supervising/training a Jack Nelson who was assigned to the front entry point. The control point guard told Nelson to stand outside so he could give General Harris a smart salute when the General departed.
Jack Nelson, the front door guard stood outside by the curb, next to Harris’ car.
The Command Post later called the Alarm Monitor and told the monitor that General Harris was locked in the command section and was ready to leave. James Vacheresse was dispatched to unlock the command section. Vacheresse unlocked the command section, greeted the General and proceeded to sweep the area to insure documents were properly secured and safes locked. As Vacheresse went about his check, General Harris was following him. Vacheresse told the general that he (Vacheresse) would finish the checks and the general could leave if he so desired. General Harris told Vacheresse that he wanted Vacheresse to accompany him to the front entrance as he had forgotten his security badge and there was a guard at the door that the general did not think would recognize him. The general then told Vacheresse that he tried to call the command post and tell the guards to let him out of the office but the phones were not working. (Apparently, someone in comm had turned off the phones for a while.) General Harris said he looked out a window, and saw a guard at the curb by his car. General Harris said he knocked on the window and waved at the guard to get his attention. The guard looked up and waved back, but did not recognize the general.
Vacheresse accompanied General Harris to the front entrance where the general introduced himself to Nelson and departed. Nelson later said he saw someone waving at him from a second floor window but had no idea who it was or what they wanted.
How many officers (or senior noncoms) do you know that would have had a purple-faced, spitting, hissy under the same circumstances? General Harris was a great general and a fine human being.
|STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND STAND DOWNUNITED STATES STRATEGIC COMMAND ACTIVATIONI tell you right now, the ceremony I was in deactivating SAC and standing up USSTRATCOM was unusual. I was then SrA Frey. (the other was SrA Kris Zhea) The multi-service ceremony detail (Two USAF E-4s armed guards, one Army E-7 and one Navy E-6) unveiled the USSTRATCOM flag for the first time. I handed the flag to then Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Gen Powell who gave it to Gen Butler. Gen Butler said “I assume Command” and then handed the flag back to me. This at the time seemed like a cool but very normal ceremony. However, having worn blue for a while now, I believe my part in the ceremony should have been a Senior NCO at the minimum? No? Regardless, it was a very proud moment in my career and one I’ll never forget.
Keep up with the great work on this program. Glad to have been a part of the (the SAC Elite Guard) and still be a part of this organization.
|VIP SECURITY:I was guarding the BOQ room for the King of Belgium on his visit to SAC Hdqtrs (1959?) and upon his return to said room after an evening with the Hdqrtrs staff and apparently having imbibed some ‘refreshments’, he stopped in front of me and looked me up and down and said “Hrumphh!!” I wonder even now if it was in awe or ….
Drill Team 1958-1962
Nine Mile Falls, WA
|Post 505 – MAIN ENTRANCE:Standing post on the Front Door of Bldg. 500, an Airmen just out of Tech School appeared in front of me, saluted and said “reporting for duty Sir!” I told him I was just an Airman like him and no need to call me Sir, and if he went over to the Control Point they would call his supervisor and get him squared away. I could tell he was very nervous and with several thousand Officers working in the building it was of great concern to him. While he was waiting for someone to come get him, a Major walks by, the airman looked at all of us to see what we were going to do about this VIP and when we did nothing it seemed to make him even more nervous. About this time was when Lt. General Griswold, Vice Commander of SAC, arrived. (Side note: Gen. Griswold was an amazing man, he knew your first name on the second time he saw you!) Anyway, we had the elevator door open and ready when he came through the door. He said, “Good Morning Wayne” and headed towards the elevator, turning a little and giving his usual wave to the personnel at the Control Point. The young airman was standing there in awe, and when he saw a 3 Star General waving at him – he fainted dead away… Sgt. Staubs immediately informed Gen Griswold we could handle the situation… These are just some of the memorable moments,Wayne Kester Drill Team
Nine Mile Falls, WA
|DRILL TEAM TRAVELS:I guess the story I remember was when the drill team went to Fort Worth for a parade. We stayed at Carswell for the night. J.T. and I thought we would like to see a B-58 up close, so we went over to the flight line and found the Air Police station. We found the NCOIC and told the sergeant what we would like to do. We were in our Elite Guard uniforms, Well, he took us back to the OIC, We went in and gave him a snappy salute, and asked if we could get a ride around the ramp to look at a B-58 up close. Well, he told us that the shift was about to change and would we like to inspect the flight coming on duty? This kind of caught us off guard but being quick thinking guardsmen we said yes we would. So out we went. We inspected the troops and thanked the LT. for the honor, And that the flight was ready for duty. Then we got in a A.P. staff car and the LT. took us for a ride around the posts on the line, Took us back to our quarters, We small talked for about half an hour and got out, thank him and gave that snappy salute. It’s been 45 years but I can remember it like it was yesterday. Back in those days that (SAC Elite Guard) uniform would take you places.
|COMMAND SECTION:One significant moment was when General Bruce K. Holloway retired in April 1972. The entire day was given to this very humble and much respected man. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the detail and the most memorable was when General Holloway and his wife left the O-Club that evening and I was assigned to his vehicle. I opened his door and he looked me in the eye and I saw one tear, and he said to me, “thank you for all your service and dedication.” That was the last time I saw him.
One night about 5 years ago I started a search for bibliographies of General Officers and discovered that General Holloway had died in 1999.I actually was discharged on 1 July 1974 my last day at Offutt AFB and on active duty. What a traumatic move that was! I had been accepted in an Air National Guard unit as what we referred to as a FART, Federal Air Reserve Technician. I had made up my mind to leave Air Force 6 months prior and began searching for a job in January ’74. Air Force seemed to want to take me off the controlled three year tour at the Elite Guard and send me to Korea, then they wanted to send me to Alaska and I wanted some stability with my 6 month old daughter then. I had two remote tours in Vietnam 1964-1966 but those credits didn’t seem to count.
General John C. Meyers was the CINC at that time and I had 8 months left on my current enlistment the Chief of Staff was Colonel Dunlap who was the Elite Guard boss (over Lt Taylor anyway). I started doing research in the personnel publications and found that General Meyers could forgive the 8 months as he was empowered with General-Courts-Marshall authority. General Meyers could allow me to leave the service early and take the job in St Louis. Colonel Dunlap was my key. I drafted about 20 letters and each time he would go over them and revise a little, he was absolutely wonderful! When he finally said I had it right, he told me to sign it and he would take it through the process. One day General Meyers, CinC SAC, had me summoned to his office and I reported to him in the proper smart military manner. General Meyers was smoking one of those 14 inch cigars and he stood up and handed me the letter with his approval endorsement. He said to me, “Sergeant White, you have done your duty and now it is time for you to go on and support the new Total Force Concept.” That was it; I saluted, did about face and walked out. Colonel Dunlap, Lt Col Linn, Assistant Chief of Staff and the CWO who I can’t remember now were all there and congratulated me.
|Post 505 – MAIN ENTRANCEOne morning I allowed a civilian visitor (salesman?) to proceed to the visitor control point and just then, the VCINC, Lt. General Compton’s staff car was arriving. I opened both sets of front doors and saluted General Compton as he entered through the doorway. I then turned and followed the General through the doors. All Guards snapped to attention at the visitor control point, causing the civilian to turn to see what happened. The civilian then also tried to snap to attention and then gave out a rather loud nervous laugh.General Compton, in my experience, a mild mannered gentleman, then turned to me, pointing at the man, and in a loud voice said “Is that man mocking you?”
I replied “No sir, I don’t believe so, sir”General Compton said in an even louder voice “If anybody ever makes fun of you, he’ll never get on another Air Force Base.”
I said “Yes sir, thank you, sir”
It was extremely quiet in the lobby until the elevator doors closed.
|BECOMING A MEMBER OF THE SAC ELITE GUARD:It was the summer of 1963, and I was stationed with the 451st Strategic Missile Wing, at Lowry AFB, Colorado. One day, I believe it was in July 1963, I was notified to report to the Security Office and it was there that I was told that I had been selected to be interviewed by a member of theSAC Elite Guard, from Offutt AFB, Nebraska. I went into the interview room, and was introduced to TSgt Billy Davis and another member of the Guard whom I still can’t recall. They interviewed me for about an hour, and it was there that I made my decision to transfer to Offutt AFB. When I got home, I informed my wife of the decision, and she was as elated as I was about the opportunity to go to Nebraska. So, thereafter, she, my two children, and I began making preparations for the move. If I recall correctly, we moved to Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and I started to work at Bldg 500 in September, 1963. After a couple of months of post indoctrination, I was assigned to the Main Control Point for training. It was on that day, that President John Kennedy was assassinated. I think that was the saddest moment of my Elite Guard career. Back in those days, there was an Officer of the Day office just adjacent the Main Control Point and we took turns going in there and watching the event unfold on TV. Later on, in 1964, and I don’t recall the exact date, but I was also working the Main Control Point and David Scott was on the Main Entrance, when he alerted me to check out an “officer” whom he did not recognize. He escorted the individual to the desk and I checked the data file, against his Sac Form 138, and lo and behold, the dude was attempting to penetrate the Headquarters Building. Immediately thereafter, after everyone was alerted to the penetration attempt, Gen Power and staff came into the lobby and MSgt Schumacher gave the ALL CLEAR. It was later learned that the IG Office in Washington had been studying this penetration attempt for some time, even photographing Scotty on the Front Entrance, and that Gen Power had indicated to the IG that “they would not even get in the front door”… Well, that’s the way it happened. Thanks to Scotty and his alertness. I was really proud that day, and it really boosted my morale, and concern for the security of SAC Headquarters.One of the greatest thrills of my tenure, 1963-70, was the trip to New York City, as a member of the Color Guard. We went with the SAC Band and participated in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. We marched in the St Patrick’s Day Parade, as well as appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. To this day, I don’t recall who else was on the Color Guard with me. Maybe some of the membership reading this will remember, and make contact with me. I really would like to hear from them. (Note from John. There is supposed to be a video of this Ed Sullivan Show. Does anyone know anything?) Fred Tyson