Blast from the Past – Looking Glass Historic District

In 1998, the National Park Service commissioned HDC to prepare the first ever Historic American Engineering Record drawings of an aircraft—the KC-135 airborne command center located at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Offutt Air Force Base was established in 1891 as Fort Crook and came into use as Offutt Field in the 1930s. It was officially designated Offutt Air Force Base in 1948 and transferred to the newly established U.S. Air Force. Strategic Air Command (SAC) was then transferred from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Offut, moving into a new building in 1957 that included an underground command center. In 1960. SAC began trial runs of an airborne command center that would guarantee retaliation if underground headquarters were destroyed in a nuclear attack. Named “Looking Glass” because it mirrored the functions of the underground command center, the mission began round-the-clock operations in 1961. One of the mission’s customized KC-135/EC-135 jet aircraft was in the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the next 29 years. In addition to the aircraft, the historic district includes 14 buildings constructed between 1959 and 1976.
  The team took photographs and measured every aspect of the plane, such as the rear wheels. They also had some fun…here is Don Durst attempting to take control of world affairs.
Here is an explanatory isometric drawing of the plane.