Always at War
Strategic Air Command was created because of the Air Force’s internal beliefs, but the organization evolved as it responded to the external environment created by the Cold War. In the aftermath of World War II and the creation of an independent air service, the Air Force formed SAC because of a belief in the military potential of strategic bombing centralized under one commander. As the Cold War intensified, so did SAC’s mission.
In order to prepare SAC’s “warriors” to daily fight an enemy they did not see, as well as to handle the world’s most dangerous arsenal, the command, led by General Curtis LeMay, emphasized security, personal responsibility, and competition among the command. Its resources, political influence, and manning grew as did its “culture” until reaching its peak during the Cuban Missile Crisis. SAC became synonymous with the Cold War and its culture forever changed the Air Force as well as those who served.