“As a member of SAC’s Alert Force, you are contributing to an operation which is of the utmost importance to the security and welfare of the this nation and its allies in the free world.  The purpose of the this memorandum is to discuss with you some aspect of this operation and the importance of your part in it.  For you must fully understand the reasons for the establishment of the Alert Force in order to believe in what your doing and, consequently, do it with your heart and to the best of your ability.”

MEMORANDUM TO: Each Member of the SAC Alert Force, 9 November 1957


Fifty-nine years ago (9 November 1957), Strategic Air Command commenced an around the clock ground and up until the mid-1960s an airborne (“Chrome Dome”) alert posture.

The above quote is from the MEMORANDUM TO: Each Member of the SAC Alert Force and signed by the CINCSAC General Thomas S. Power.

ON 29 September 1991, the Alert Force stood down and a recently promoted 1st Lieutenant Decker witnessed the historical event on the Minot Alert Pad—never thinking the following summer SAC would stand down and a significant portion of the bomber force would quickly be transferred to their last home at the Davis Monthan “bone yard.”

Provided for your historical appreciation is this Alert Force: A Brief History and Keys for Aircraft Maintenance—both issued to a brand new 2Lt Decker upon his arrival to frozen North Dakota tundra in February 1990.   Timeless “lessons learned.”  I do hope you enjoy this trip to the Alert Shack!

Col JW Decker
LOA Historian

PS—I had the “Dark Blue” issue shirt as an A1C—what a great uniform combination!


Strategic Air Command And the Alert Force: A Brief History, Dr. Henry M. Narducci, 1 April 1988, Office of the Historian, Headquarters Strategic Air Command

Keys for Aircraft Maintenance, HQ SAC/LGMM Publication

MEMORANDUM TO: Each Member of the SAC Alert Force, 9 November 1957

LOA HMP Nov 2016 Infographic