January 31, 2010
My favorite nuclear war movie has always been Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. I never gave it much thought, but the folks at the Strategic Air Command, headquartered at Omaha, Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base were concerned that movies like Dr. Strangelove and Fail Safe would give Americans the wrong idea. Sometimes such films made it appear that nuclear weapons could just 'go off' the way gun control nuts think handguns are apt to do.
To counter this notion, the US Air Force made a film to show how safe and secure our nuclear weapons systems really were. That movie, for one reason or another, was never made public and remained classified until recently. I caught an AP story about it in the Omaha World Herald* with a link to the movie and decided to check it out. You can watch it here.
Nukes R Us. I remember going to one of their Christmas parties. The mood was macabre, but fun. The theme of the party was "We're making a list and checking it twice" from the Christmas song Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I'll leave you to make the rest of the analogies to the song that were bandied about that night.
What great folks those service men and women were. Dealing with the most deadly weapons systems ever in the history of mankind, 24 hours a day, day in and day out, they still had a sense of humor about their mission. They never forgot, however, that their real mission wasn't world scale destruction, but peace. In those days the entrance to SAC carried this motto: Peace is our Profession. For the entire time SAC existed, from 1946 to 1992, there was no nuclear war, thanks in large part to the vigilance of these troops and their leaders.
The mission of maintaining the peace with nuclear weapons is now carried on by the U.S. Strategic Command, based in the old SAC buildings at Offutt. It isn't just an Air Force job now.
* The Omaha World Herald has a goofy notion that folks ought to pay to read their old news, so if the link is kaput, try this one.