Arlie E. Judd Interview, 27 February 2001

‹‹ Interview Index
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23

The aircraft was loaded with 8 nuclear weapons, and they were live. They were ready-to-go nuclear weapons.
INT: At Minot Air Force Base?
AJ:At Minot Air Force Base, and so if anything happened, such as a missile attack, they could get those aircraft off the ground before the missiles would strike.
INT:So how fast do you get a B-52 off the ground?
AJ:I believe we could get it off at 8-10 minutes—something like that.
INT:About the time they could launch the missiles.
AJ:When they would see the missile launch on NORAD and if we would get the message to launch—immediate launch and before the missiles—I think we had a 12-minute envelope. We'd get out of there in 12 minutes that was what we strived for—to keep it underneath 12 minutes. And then we'd fly airborne alert, which was about a 26-hour flight. We'd take off with the same weapons and we'd orbit way up north towards the North Pole, in that area up there and stay on this big, elliptical orbit for, oh, probably 18 hours.
INT:Boy, that must be boring.
AJ:That was. There'd be 3 people flying and 3 people sleeping at all times. So it was just one of them things that had to be done, like alert. They maintained that for years and years, and they kept airborne command post in the air at all times. That was a tremendous amount of energy involved in keeping that airborne command post up at all times and keeping maybe 6 or 8 bombers cocked in the spring-loaded position there at all times.
INT:So they were just air refueling constantly?
AJ:Yes. I think they were up for about 20 hours, or maybe 22 hours—something like that. But we would refuel twice, or maybe 3 times, and we would get relieved, and the next aircraft would come, so—
INT:Okay. Getting up to this incident. It was October 24, 1968, and you guys were out on a training flight. Do you remember that particular flight?
AJ:Yes, I do. I remember that flight.
INT:Do you remember what your responsibilities were on that mission?

‹‹ Previous Page Next Page ››