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In the late '60s and in the '70s, student pilots who graduated toward the bottom of their class invariably got assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC), flying either KC 135s or B52s.

I got a posh assignment out of pilot training, flying Caribous in Viet Nam. It wasn't until my duty there was over that I... I got assigned to the Strategic Air Command.

And had to fly KC 135s. In Sacramento. Two hours from Reno. An hour and a half from San Francisco. Just my luck!

My friend Bob Smith (who also lucked out with a Caribou assignment) came back to the States and was assigned to a SAC base in upstate New York. He got to be on alert (living in a small building at the end of the runway for a week at a time) every third or fourth week for the duration of his SAC assignment.

Me? In my three and a half years at Mather, I did a total of two weeks of alert. And one of those weeks was split up into a three-day shift and a four-day shift.

I'm guessing the grownups didn't consider me safe enough or serious enough to participate in nuclear warfare.

Anyway, I did do some cartoons while I was at Mather, so it wasn't a total waste of time.


Uncle Sac's Cabin

Uncle Sac's Cabin, the pdf

Uncle Sac's Cabin... at last, the truth can be told!