The 4th Airborne Command Control Squadron was activated in April 1970, branching off from the 28th Air Refueling Squadron, at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.  Located 8 miles east of Rapid City, in western South Dakota. The squadron provided an airborne and auxiliary command post and a communications link for Fifteenth Air Force and Strategic Air Command.

Crews from the 4ACCS occasionally flew “Looking Glass” missions to back up the Strategic Air Command (SAC) airborne command post. The squadron flew the EC135A, C, and G models and was later deactivated, October 1992.

Lt Col John A. Berlette          1 Apr ’70 – 31 Jul ’71
Lt Col Eugene Bal, Jr            1 Aug ’71 – 19 Nov ’72
Lt Col Ronald L Haase         20 Nov ’72 – 20 Aug ’73
Lt Col Bennie R Allen           21 Aug ’73 – 8 Jul ’74
Lt Col Clifford M Jackson       9 Jul ’74 – 1 Jul ’76
Lt Col Arvid S Doucette          2 Jul ’76 – 20 Apr ’77
Lt Col Robert B Picht            21 Apr ’77 – 15 May ’79
Lt Col Charles C Adams       16 May ’79 – 15 Jul ’81
Lt Col Clifford E Lambert      16 Jul ’81 – 3 May ’82
Lt Col Terry A Pratchett          4 May ’82 – 5 Jul ’84
Lt Col Arthur R Bode               5 Jul ’84 – 12 Aug ’85
Lt Col Carmen E Auwarter    13 Aug ’85 – 9 Jun ’87
Lt Col George M Xiques, Jr   10 Jun ’87 – 9 Jul ’89
Lt Col Frank Zazula, Jr          10 Jul ’89 – 12 Sep ’91
Lt Col H Richard Hodges, Jr  13 Sep ’91 – 1 Oct ’92


Original Ellsworth AFB 44SMW-28BW ALCS crew list. Our Ellsworth bunch was the second crop of ALCS-er’s, behind those originally qualified at Offutt AFB for Looking Glass duty. (The FR/FV+6 or 7 digit number is the old USAF serial number for each individual, before we went to using SSN. Those numbers have been excluded.)

44SMW ALCC CREWS 1967 list for standup of the 4th ACCS at Ellsworth, combining the crew assets from Ellsworth and Minot. Gary Curtin was the first person to PCS out of the 4th ACCS, a few weeks later in late April 1970, enroute to SOS and the rest of his Air Force career.



An essential element in the command and control of the Strategic Air Command’s forces was the Airborne Command Post, also called “Looking Glass.” The nickname came from the mission – it was a mirror of the ground-based system. At least one airborne command post was in the air at all times and its highly-trained crew and staff ensured there was a viable means to direct bombers and missiles from the air should ground-based command centers become inoperable. It guaranteed that U.S. strategic forces would act only in the precise manner dictated by the President.

These aircraft began their duty with SAC on February 3, 1961. From then on, a Looking Glass aircraft was in the air at all times 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for more than 29 years. On July 24, 1990, Looking Glass ceased continuous airborne alert, but remained on ground or airborne alert 24 hours a day. Crews accumulated more than 281,000 accident-free flying hours. The last EC-135 was retired from service on October 1, 1998.

Another strong testament to the “Quality of the Leadership and Performance” in the Operations Deputate and 4ACCS!  “It’s Safe to Say……….There’s Nothing You Guys Can’t Do!”   Outstanding Mission Support

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Brenda M. Brennan, USAF (Ret) – this was my first operational station in 1981 as a young “butter-bar”!!! Many fond memories!!! Pulling alert at Minot AFB, ND was NOT one of them…LOL!!!

  2. Thinking back on those days brings tears to my eyes… especially now that all the ACCS aircraft were mothballed and then scrapped! I wish I could’ve gotten a piece of one of them… like the altimeter… which we were constantly resetting as we passed up and down through FL180. It’s sad to think that what filled all those years of my life… in my mind, one of the high points of my life… is gone. All I have left of that special time in my life are the memories… good… and bad. But I wouldn’t change a thing about my time at Ellsworth with the 4th ACCS!

Leave a Reply