This is the second of a three-part series about an educational trip to Offutt Air Force Base by honorary commanders and civic leaders.
Offutt Air Force Base in home to the U.S. Strategic Command or USSTRATCOM or STRATCOM. When growing up in Moses Lake, with Larson Air Force Base was located in Moses Lake, this organization was known as the Strategic Air Command or SAC.
My mission this day was to learn as much about the current organization as possible and pass the info along to my readers. This might seem as if it was a simple task, but my group, a bunch of honorary commanders and civic leaders from the greater Spokane area, began the day at 4 a.m. at Fairchild AFB.
The flight to Offutt was about two and a half hours, but we gained two hours because of the time changes when headed east. We landed at Offutt at around 11:30 a.m., 30 minutes later than scheduled. This put us behind in an already busy day.
A bus pulled up and our group of 30 honorary commanders, civic leaders and airmen scampered aboard. Our first assignment was to attend a welcome lunch of grilled chicken salad, fresh fruit garnish, water/tea/coffee/soda and an apple cream cheese bar for lunch. Remember, we civilians were required to pay for all our meals and lodging during the trip.
The food was great and delicious, but this isn’t what held my attention during the meal. On my left was a two-star general, on my right was a two-star general and there were generals, along with a bunch of colonels, all around the room. It became apparent Offutt was full of high-ranking military officers and the reason was not yet clear.
USSTRATCOM’s mission statement says, “U.S. Strategic Command employs tailored nuclear, space, cyberspace, global strike, joint electronic warfare, missile defense and intelligence capabilities that deter aggression, decisively responds if deterrence fails, assures allies, shapes adversary behavior, defeats terror and defines the force of the future.”
The unit’s vision is “One of U.S. Strategic Command Team – an innovative joint military and civilian team fighting and delivering integrated multi-domain combat effects across the globe, in space and cyberspace, wherever and whenever needed.”
The unit’s priorities are, “Strategic deterrence, decisive response and a combat-ready force.”
At this point readers should take another look at these three statements, as they are paramount and vital to our way of life. STRATCOM has the responsibility to make sure we can maintain our way of life. We can sleep well at night, because this unit, and units supporting them, are in place 24/7.
The group finished lunch and a briefing about STRATCOM and were escorted to the “Battle Deck.” We entered a building and was escorted down one ramp, not a set of stairs, but a wide ramp, then down another and another and still more.
At the edge of each level was a lighted sign with each level designated. Level One, Unclassified; Level Two, Unclassified; Level Three, Top Secret; Level Four, Unclassified; Level Five, Top Secret; Level Six Top Secret.
Finally, we were at the “Battle Deck.” There were numerous large screens throughout the room depicting various parts of the world. Each screen had the word “Simulated” in big words across the bottom. The actual monitors were top secret, but we could only see the simulated versions.
Maj. Static Kling was the main person conducting the briefing. This room monitors missile launches around the world. In fact, we were told there was a scheduled launch from Florida of a resupply rocket headed for the International Space Station.
“If the launch is about to take place, we will need to scoot you all out of the room,” we were told.
Standing in this room will send chills up and down the spine of all normal people. Missiles headed our way can be monitored from this room. Missiles headed for enemy targets can be monitored from this room. By the way, Offutt AFB is located in the general middle of the United States to make it more difficult to destroy the base in case of an attack.
Above the main monitors were a number of times, such as in Washington D.C., Tokyo, Moscow, etc., plus one with POTUS. This stands for President of the United States. This indicated the time wherever the president was located. When the general on duty needed to call the president, he needed to know the correct time where the president was located.
On the right edge of this bank of time indications was another bank of time, but the numbers were all zero. They were: Red impact time, Blue impact time and Escape time. When asked, the major turned to the colonel and asked if he could tell us?
“Yes, let me explain,” the colonel said. “The Red impact time is the time until an enemy missile will impact the United States or one of our allies. The Blue impact time is the time until an enemy missile will impact the enemy. The Escape time is the time for our general to get to the runway and get into the air in his airplane.”
All of the times were set at 00:00, thank goodness.
Next week: The last part of the Offutt AFB tour.