Archives

Strategic Air Command

Fifteenth Air Force

810th Strategic Aerospace Division

Minot Air Force Base

91st Strategic Missile Wing

5th Bombardment Wing

5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron

786th Radar Squadron

Flickenger Case Files (1961-1969)

Archives

Strategic Air Command (SAC)

The Strategic Air Command was established on 21 March 1946, with a mandate to build an organization capable of conducting long-range air operations in any part of the world. In its dual role as a specified command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (U.S. Department of Defense), and a Major Command (MAJCOM) subordinate to Headquarters USAF, Strategic Air Command grew to become the operational establishment of the USAF in charge of America’s bomber-based and ballistic missile-based strategic nuclear arsenal until the end of the Cold War in 1992. Specific information regarding SAC’s mission (Basic War Plan), available resources, and organizational changes at the time of the UFO events is available below at: History of the Strategic Air Command, FY 1969, Vol. I, Chapter I: “Mission, Resources, Organization.” Currently, the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), Offutt, AFB, Neb., and the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), Barksdale AFB, La., are responsible for all U.S. nuclear-capable assets.

  1. USAF Fact Sheet: Strategic Air Command, 1986 [4-pages].
  2. Strategic Air Command and Offutt AFB Guides [9-pages].
    These two booklets are base guides for civilian and incoming military personnel to Offutt AFB, NE in the early sixties.
  3. Table of Contents for History of Strategic Air Command, FY 1969 [8-pages].
    Complete Table of Contents for the three-volume History of Strategic Air Command, FY 1969.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command: March 1970.

  4. History of Strategic Air Command, FY 1969. Volume I, Chapter I [38-pages].
    Chapter I discusses the mission, resources, and organization of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), in its dual role as a specified command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and as a major command of the USAF.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command: March 1970.

  5. History of Strategic Air Command, FY 1969. Volume I, Chapter II and III [34-pages].
    Chapter II discusses the command control communications systems, both pre- and post- attack, as well as surveillance and warning systems for detection of hostile aircraft and missiles. Chapter III discusses B-52 operations and training.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command: March 1970.

  6. History of Strategic Air Command, FY 1969. Volume II, Chapter IV [35-pages].
    Chapter IV discusses the operations and testing of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles alert force.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command: March 1970.

  7. History of Strategic Air Command, FY 1969. Volume III (Part 1 of 2), [48-pages].
    Includes: Chart 1: Statement of Condition; Chart 2: Bases, Unit, Resources; Chart 4: Personnel Authorized; Chart 6: Roster of Key Person nel; Chart 9: Aircraft-Missile Inventory; Chart 10: Alert Status; Chart 11: Total Hours Flown; and Glossary..

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command: March 1970.

  8. Peace… is our Profession: Alert Operations and the Strategic Air Command, 1957-1991 [89-pages].
    On 28 September 1991, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Command Center supervised the stand down of SAC bombers, tankers, and Minuteman ICBMs after 34 years of continuous alert. This publication chronicles the evolution of the alert force concept, which emerged in the mid-fifties in response to growing Soviet military power, and the need for a quick retaliatory response in order to maintain deterrence as a viable strategy.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt AFB, NE: 7 December 1991.

  9. Strategic Air Warfare: An Interview with Generals Curtis E. LeMay, Leon W. Johnson, David A.Burchinal and Jack J.Catton [158-pages].
    This publication is the transcript of a group oral history interview conducted by the Office of Air Force History with four-star Generals, on the development and evolution of strategic air warfare. LeMay served as Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command during the formational period from 1948-1957, and all these men served together for many years and shared common experiences.

    Office of Air Force History, USAF: Washington D.C., 1988.

  10. National Security Council document NSC 162/2, 30 October 1953 [30-pages].
    NSC 162/2 defined Cold War policy during the Eisenhower administration. Central to the assessment was the requirement for the development and maintenance of "a strong military posture, with emphasis on the capability of inflicting massive retaliatory damage by offensive striking power" (page 5).
  11. SAC Organizational Chart as of August 1968 and January 1969.
    SAC Organizational Chart (as of August 1968 and January 1969), and Roster of Key Personnel, HQ SAC (as of December 1968).
  12. The USAF Roster of Key Personnel, December 1968 [21-pages].
    Strategic Air Command is listed on pages 18-20.
  13. The Nuclear Vault: Resources from the National Security Archive's Nuclear Documentation Project.
    The Nuclear Vault is an excellent source of information on the history and role of nuclear weapons in U.S. policy. For students of the field, the Nuclear Vault includes reading lists, other bibliographic information, and significant contributions in the form of Electronic Briefing Books, which include links to key documents.

    The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University.

  14. Air Force Regulation No. 80-17, Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)
    This regulation establishes the Air Force program for investigating and analyzing UFOs over the United States. It provides general provisions including program responsibilities, guidance in preparing and submitting reports, and releasing information to the public and news media.

    U.S. Department of the Air Force, Research and Development, Washington, DC: 19 September 1966.

  15. Air Force Regulation No. 200-2, Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)
    This regulation establishes the Air Force program for investigating and analyzing UFOs over the United States. It provides general provisions including program responsibilities, guidance in preparing and submitting reports, and releasing information to the public and news media.

    U.S. Department of the Air Force, Research and Development, Washington, DC: 20 July 1962.

Fifteenth Air Force

The Fifteenth Air Force was established on November 1, 1943 as part of the United States Army Air Forces in the World War II Mediterranean Theater of Operations. In the postwar years, the Numbered Air Forces (NAF) served as intermediate headquarters between the Major Commands and the air divisions, operational wings, and groups. In this instance, the Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, Calif., was subordinate to Strategic Air Command, responsible for providing operational leadership and supervision for Minot AFB, the 810th Strategic Aerospace Division, 91st Strategic Missile Wing, and 5th Bombardment Wing.

  1. Table of Contents for History of the Fifteenth Air Force, FY 1969 [14-pages].
    Table of Contents for the two-volume History of the Fifteenth Air Force, from July 1968 through June 1969.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, CA.

  2. History of the Fifteenth Air Force, FY 1969, Volume I Chapter I [30-pages].
    The History begins with a Chronology. Chapter I is concerned with Aircraft, and discusses the Vietnam War; Resources and Capabilities; Alert Posture; Special Operations; Aircrew Training; and Maintenance.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, CA.

  3. History of the Fifteenth Air Force, FY 1969, Volume I Chapter II [23-pages].
    Chapter II is concerned with the ICBM Program, and discusses Resources; Capability; Reliability; Training; and Material Factors.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, CA.

  4. History of the Fifteenth Air Force, FY 1969, Volume I Chapter III [19-pages].
    Chapter III is concerned with the Status of the Command, and discusses Command Resources; and Command Structure. An organizational chart appears after page 182.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, CA.

  5. History of the Fifteenth Air Force, FY 1969, Volume II [38-pages].
    Volume II begins with a Glossary; Chart II: Aircraft/Missile Inventory; Chart III: Status of 15AF Units; Chart VIII: Roster of Key Personnel; Chart IX: Commanders Roster; Chart XVIII: Missile Facilities Progress; Chart XIX: Results of Missile ORIs; Chart XXVI: B-52 Program; Chart XXVII: ICBM Launches of Glory Trip; Biographical Data of Command Personnel ( 15th AF Commander, Lt. General Jack J. Catton; Vice Commander, Major General Edward M. Nichols; and Colonel Richard Wilkinson.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, CA.

810th Strategic Aerospace Division

Headquartered at Minot AFB, the 810th SAD was an intermediate command echelon subordinate to the Fifteenth Air Force, with command jurisdiction over operations at Minot AFB, Glasgow AFB, Mont., and Malmstrom AFB, Mont. The 810th was inactivated in June 1971.

  1. 810 Strategic Aerospace Division Fact Sheet.

Minot Air Force Base

Only the Best Come North

Following the Soviet Union's detonation of its first atomic bomb in 1949, U.S. military strategists realized that the main attack route for enemy bombers would be over the Arctic. Consequently, they sought to locate radar stations and military bases in the northern tier states along the Canadian border. One of these long-range defense radar stations was located near Minot, North Dakota, in 1951. A few years later, Minot was chosen as a location for a fighter-interceptor base, and construction of the new facility began in May 1956. Officially activated in January 1957, Minot AFB began as an Air Defense Command (ADC) base, until the first permanent Strategic Air Command unit was activated in September 1958. In 1961, the Air Force selected the land around Minot for a Minuteman, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) complex, and construction of the missile sites commenced in January 1962. Minot AFB grew to be one of the largest dual-wing SAC airbases, covering over 5,000 acres of land with the Minuteman missile field distributed over eight counties. In 1968, there were 5,742 officers and enlisted personnel at the base with another 468 at the radar sites, making Minot one of the largest of the forty-nine Strategic Air Command bases in the world. Headquartered at Minot AFB were the 5th Bombardment Wing, with 15 B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers capable of delivering nuclear and conventional ordinance worldwide; and the 91st Strategic Missile Wing, responsible for 150 Minuteman, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) housed in underground Launch Facilities scattered across an area of 8,500 square miles. In addition, the 862nd Combat Support Group provided base security and material support to the wings. At the time, the wings were subordinate to the 810th Strategic Aerospace Division at Minot AFB. The 810th SAD was subordinate to the Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, Calif., and Strategic Air Command, Offutt AFB, Neb. Today both wings continue operations under the major command of the Air Force Global Strike Command.

  1. USAF Fact Sheet: Minot AFB, Nov. 1987 [2-pages].
  2. History of the Minot Air Force Base [66-pages].
    This 41-page organizational history of Minot AFB (with chronology, appendices, and list of base, missile, and bomb wing commanders), is concerned with the origins and development of Minot AFB from 1955 to 1980.

    Minot: Minot Air Force Base, 1980.

  3. A 40th Anniversary History of the Minot Air Force Base: Minot, ND 1955-1995 [15-pages].
    This booklet was a cooperative venture between Minot AFB (base historian, SSgt. Keith Strom) and the History Department at Minot State University (Steven R. Hollbeck), in commemoration of Historical Preservation Week, 14-20 May 1995.
  4. Welcome to Roughrider Country, Minot AFB, ND [9-pages].
    This is an installation guide for incoming members of the U.S. military services. This partial copy includes general information regarding the wings, groups, squadrons and detachments stationed at Minot AFB.
  5. Minot AFB: Celebrating Minot Air Force Base's 40th Anniversary 1957-1997 [5-pages].
    Publication on the 50th anniversary of the USAF providing a brief history of Minot AFB.
  6. Building an Air Force Base: Paving the Way for Minot AFB, 1996 [5-pages].
    "Hometown History" article, in which author Baird Helgeson interviews the engineer responsible for designing the master plan for Minot AFB, David Von Niederhausen, and Minot AFB base historian SSgt. Keith Strom.

    Minot Daily News (Supplement), [Minot, ND] 1996.

  7. Minot Daily News articles [5-pages].
    Five Minot Daily News articles concerning Minot AFB published between 19 Oct. and 1 Nov. 1968. There was no mention in the press of the UFO observation.

    Minot Daily News, [Minot, ND] 1968.

  8. Directory of USAF Organizations: 30 September 1968, and 31 December 1968 [6-pages].
    USAF directory of units based at Minot AFB.
  9. Terminal Procedures for Minot AFB, 15 May 2003 [6-pages].
    The publications depicting Instrument Approach Procedures (IAP) are called Terminal Procedures, but are commonly referred to by pilots as "approach plates." These charts depict the specific procedure to be followed by a pilot for a particular type of approach to a given runway.

    Minot AFB IAP's and sectional charts on line
    Explanation of IAP's and charts

  10. Minot AFB Radar Systems
    Information on ground-based radar systems associated with Minot AFB in 1968.

91st Strategic Missile Wing

Rough Riders

The Wing was the Air Force's basic operational unit, which was a level of command below the NAF. An operational wing has between 1,000 to 5,000 personnel and a distinct mission, including an operations group, maintenance group, and assigned operational mission activities. When a Wing performs the primary mission of the base it also operates the base, however, since Minot AFB is a dual-wing base, the 862nd Combat Support Group provided the 91st Strategic Missile Wing and 5th Bombardment Wing with base and logistics support. In 1968, the 91st SMW was one of six of the Air Force's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile wings. It consisted of the 740th, 741st, and 742nd Strategic Missile Squadrons, responsible for maintaining a fleet of 150 Minuteman I missiles located in underground Launch Facilities, scattered over 8,500 square miles surrounding Minot AFB, N.D. In 2008 the wing was designated the 91st Missile Wing.

  1. USAF Fact Sheet: 91st Strategic Missile Wing [2-pages].
  2. USAF Fact Sheet: LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM, 1987 [3-pages].
  3. History of the 91st Strategic Missile Wing, 1 October - 31 December 1968 [77-pages].
    Official unit history of the 91st SMW for the fourth quarter of 1968.

    Minot AFB, North Dakota.

  4. Heritage of the 91st Roughriders: From the Memphis Belle to the Minuteman III [13-pages].
    91st Heritage Pamphlet outlining the history, lineage and accomplishments of the 91st Missile Wing.

    Minot AFB, North Dakota: 1996

  5. SAC Missile Chronology 1939 - 1988 [108-pages].
    Comprehensive missile chronology of the Strategic Air Command.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command: Offutt AFB, NE, 1 May 1990

  6. From Snark to Peacekeeper: A Pictorial History of SAC Missiles, 1990 [122-pages].
    Comprehensive pictorial history of the missile weapons systems the Strategic Air Command used to provide the nation with a strong deterrent force.

    Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command: Offutt AFB, NE, 1 May 1990

  7. Trickett, Capt. Philip E., "Locked Out," Combat Crew, February 1969, 16-19 [4-pages].
    Article discussing missile silo access procedures, and trials service personnel faced during the frigid winter months in North Dakota.

    Internal publication of the Headquarters SAC (DOSDC), Offutt AFB, NE.

  8. Missile and Targeting Alignment of Minuteman ICBMs.
    Kelchner, Bob (CMSgt. Ret). "Missile and Targeting Alignment-Part 1 [of 3]." Association of Air Force Missileers Newsletter, 14, 4, December 2006: 1, 4-5.
    Part I [3-pages]: http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2006/Dec06.pdf
    Part II [7-pages]: http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2007/Mar07.pdf
    Part III [12-pages]: http://www.afmissileers.org/newsletters/NL2007/Jun07.pdf
    (accessed 9 December 2008).
  9. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
    In 1999, Congress established the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, part of Ellsworth, AFB, South Dakota, to "preserve, protect, and interpret for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations the structures associated with the Minuteman II missile defense system." Park Service staff provide tours of an intact Minuteman II ICBM Launch Control Facility (LCF), and Launch Facility (LF).

    An excellent Historical Resource Study was prepared by the National Parks Service to provide history and context for the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, see: Jeffrey A. Engler (Mead & Hunt Inc.), The Missile Plains: Frontline of America's Cold War, Prepared for United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 2003.
  10. Panoramic photographs of Minuteman Launch Facilities.
    Bruce Ecker has produced spherical panoramic images depicting some of the major features of the Delta-01 LCF, and Delta-09 LF facilities at Ellsworth AFB including several sections of the missile silo and launch support buildings not normally accessible.

5th Bombardment Wing (Heavy)

Guardians of the Upper Realms

The 5th Bombardment Wing is a B-52H Stratofortress unit, consisting of the 23rd Bombardment Squadron, and the 906th Air Refueling Squadron flying the KC-135 Stratotanker. Its primary responsibility was to train in global strategic bombardment and air refueling missions, though, at all times, there were B-52 crews poised on alert status that could be airborne within minutes to targets in the Soviet Union. Its motto from its early days in Hawaii is Kiai O Ka Lewa, "Guardians of the Upper Realms."

  1. USAF Fact Sheet, 5th Bombardment Wing, August 1985 [4-pages].
  2. USAF Fact Sheet, B-52 Stratofortress, May 1986 [3-pages].
  3. The History of the 5th Bomb Wing, December 1996 [14-pages].
    Commemorative USAF booklet outlining the history of the 5th BMW.
  4. B-52G schematic of crew compartment for upper and lower decks [2-pages].
  5. B-52 Stratofortress. In Encyclopedia of U.S. Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems, Vol. II: Post-World War II Bombers 1945-1973 [91 pages].
    A comprehensive discussion of the policy issues and development of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress from official sources. Six years of development preceded the beginning of production in 1953, which ended in October 1962. In all, the USAF purchased 744 variations of the B-52.

    Knaack, Marcelle Size. "B-52 Stratofortress." In Encyclopedia of U.S. Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems, Vol. II: Post-World War II Bombers 1945-1973, 203-294. Office of Air Force History: Washington D.C., 1988.

    See also: Boeing's B-52 50th Anniversary, including a video of the first flight of the YB-52 prototype in 1952.

  6. B-52H Aircraft Mishap Accident Report, 4 October 1968 [33-pages].
    These are the releasable portions of the accident report, in which a B-52H crashed on approach to Minot AFB a few weeks prior to the UFO events of 24 October 1968. Included are a Transcription of Recorded Conversations with Minneapolis and Great Falls Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC), covering a period of time from 0256-0852Z; and Aircraft Accident Transcription-Minot Approach Control, covering a period of time from 0842-0907Z.

    Department of the Air Force, Headquarters Air Force Safety Center/JAR. Kirtland AFB, NM.

  7. Bomb Navigation Systems Mechanic, CDC 32150 K (ASB 9A/16) [62-pages].
    This is a technical training manual for the primary components of the B-52's AN/ASQ-38 bombing and navigation radar system.

    Department of the Air Force. 3450th Technical Training Group. Bomb Navigation Systems Mechanic, CDC 32150 K (ASB 9A/16), Vol. 4. Lowry AFB, CO: 1978.

  8. Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) [ 9-pages].
    This is a basic introduction to Tactical Air Navigation and associated systems. TACAN is a polar-coordinate type radio air navigation system that provides an aircrew with distance information from distance measuring equipment (DME), and bearing (azimuth) information.

    Source: U.S. Navy. Naval Education And Training, Professional Development And Technology Center. Electronics Technician, Volume 5, Chapter 2, (Nonresident Training Course, NAVEDTRA 14090): 1994. Online at: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/navy/nrtc/14090_ch2.pdf (accessed 14 December 2008)

5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (ADC)

The 5th FIS was subordinate to the 28th Air Division, 10th Air Force, Air Defense Command (ADC), Ent AFB, CO. The stated mission was to achieve and maintain a level of operational readiness, which will enable the squadron to destroy airborne targets under all conditions of weather during daylight and darkness. Located at Minot AFB in 1968, the squadron was comprised of 20 F-106 Delta Darts, and included 25 pilots.

  1. USAF Fact Sheet: 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 1986 [3-pages].
  2. Historical Record of the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron for period ending December 1968. [8-pages].
    This is the official unit history for the 5th FIS, July-December 1968.

786th Radar Squadron (ADC)

Located approximately 16 miles south of Minot, ND, the 786th Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron began operations in April 1952 as part of the Pinetree Line. In 1961 the name was changed to the 786th Radar Squadron, when it became part of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system operations. The stated mission was to provide the Division commander with surveillance data inputs through the use of height-finder and search radars, Mark X IFF/SIF equipment, air ground radios, etc. The 786th ceased radar operations on 1 July 1979 and was deactivated in September 1979.

  1. Historical Record of the 786th Radar Squadron, Minot Air Force Station, ND for the period ending December 1968 [5-pages].
    Official unit history for the 786th RS for the fourth quarter of 1968.
  2. Commemorative web site for the 786th AC & W Squadron, Minot AFS, ND, online at: http://www.minotafs.org
  3. An excellent historical study of the U.S. defense radar programs is available from: Winkler, David F., Searching the Skies: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program. USAF, Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, VA, June 1997 (accessed June 2011).

Flickenger Case Files (1961-1969)

  1. UFOCAT database listings for North Dakota (1966-1975).