A Gathering of Eagles (1963) Script

I'm General Kirby. I recognize you, sir.

I want to go directly to the command post.

You will not notify anyone to let them know we're here. But, sir--

I'll vouch for these men.

I'm General Kirby, the SAC Inspector General.

This is an O.R.I.-- a no-notice Operational Readiness Inspection.

In seven minutes, you will receive a message from Strategic Air Command headquarters... to carry out a simulated Emergency War Order.

Now, you'll proceed exactly as you would in a wartime situation.

Sir, I'm Colonel Farr, the vice commander.

May I contact Colonel Brooks?

Not until the order comes in. Until then, no one is to be notified.

Carry on.

Sorry. Can't talk to you now. Call back in 10 minutes.

This is Jumbo with a silver flash message for Moonbeam in six parts.

Break, break.

Authentication time is 12/0545 Zulu.

Colonel Brooks.

Do you want to act on this?

No, not now. Later. Right.

No, he's not going to--

New E.T.A. is 2030 Zulu.

This is General Kirby.

I want to talk to General Hewitt, SAC Headquarters, Omaha.

This is Kirby, sir. At Carmody?

Doesn't look too good so far.

Do you have the bombing scores?


Uh-huh. How many aborts?

No, that's not good. I'll get back to you.

Command post? Yes, sir?

The moment Colonel Caldwell finishes the briefing, send him up to me.

Yes, sir.

All right, gentlemen, if you'll go right through there, please.

If we ever received an order to go, the first step would be to make sure the order was authentic, that it does come from the president.

The code which tells us that is inside this red box.

The box is never locked. There isn't time to be scrambling around for a key.

However, we've taken certain precautions.

Colonel Moore?

Thank you.

You'll notice I called my duty controller before I opened the box.

Did General Hewitt explain to you about our two Yes, he did, Colonel.

That's the way it is all the way down the line.

The men on duty here are required to wear sidearms.

If any one man attempted to open that box alone--

Well, he wouldn't get very far.

Now, gentlemen, if you'll follow me over here, please.

Roger. Divert to west. Over.

Right around here.

This is our primary alerting system... for transmitting the order down throughout General Hewitt's command.

Let's assume I'm going to transmit the order to go to war.

When I pick up this red phone, I'll be in direct contact with every SAC base in the world.


This is Jumbo with a communications check.

The time is 1750 Zulu.

Acknowledge on my count of five. One, two, three, four, five.

That's how long it would take all combat units... to receive and acknowledge the execution order.

They would then have 30 seconds in which to decode and prove their order was authentic.

In 15 minutes or less, bombers would be on their way to specific positive control points... which are well outside the range of enemy radar.

They would not continue on to their targets... unless they received a coded message which corresponds to codes carried in the aircraft.

When various members of each crew, working individually, have properly decoded the message and arrived at the same answer, then, and only then, would they proceed.

Gentlemen, if you'll follow me over here, please.

Right over there.

A certain percentage of our aircraft are always in the air on alert training.

They could also be ordered on to their targets immediately.

Lord Beresford.

Would you select one of the planes from our status board, please?

Uh, Bozo 2-3.

Bozo 2-3.

You've picked a B-52 flying off the coast of North Africa... approximately 5,000 miles away.

Let's again assume this is the order to go to war.

Bozo 2-3, this is Jumbo.

Give me a recheck on your fuel reserve.

Roger, Jumbo. This is Bozo, 2-3.

Adequate fuel for destination and alternate. Roger. Listening out.

As soon as he authenticated the order, he'd be on his way.

Any questions?

This has been most impressive.

Roger, Control. Affirmative.

How are you doing down the hole, Caldwell?

Fine, sir. I'm soaking up a lot of knowledge. Good.

Sit down, then. Thank you.

Did you ever know George Brooks, the wing commander at Carmody?

Yes, sir, I checked him out in B-52s when I was an instructor pilot.

Would you say he's a pretty good officer?

In my opinion, sir, yes. One of the best.

That's what I thought, or I wouldn't have made him a wing commander.

But it's just about the toughest job in SAC, and he didn't have what it takes.

Caldwell, I've yanked you out of the London embassy for a specific job... right here in headquarters.

I realize you've hardly been here long enough to get your bearings, but nothing anybody does in SAC means a thing... unless every one of our wings is combat ready. Yes, sir.

Do you want the wing commander's job at Carmody?

I certainly do, sir.

I believe from your past performance in SAC, you can handle this.

You'll get your orders today.

Thank you, sir. Good luck.

Thank you.

Is this the London operator?

Operator, I've been trying to get through to Mrs. James Caldwell.

Good. Thank you.


Oh, how wonderful to hear your voice. Is everything all right?

Everything's great. In fact, I--

Jim, the spinet has finally arrived.

Do you know why it took so long to catch up with us?

It was shipped from Zurich in April, eight months after we bought it.

Then on to Oslo and it arrived two days after you were transferred back to London.

Victoria, will you please listen? I've got a wing.

Oh, Jim, how wonderful.

Oh, I'm so happy for you.

You remember Hollis Farr?

Hollis Farr, my copilot in Korea.

He's vice commander of the wing, my right hand.

That's marvelous!

Jim, I'll be on my way as soon as I can sublet the flat.

Oh. By the way, where is this wing No. Near San Francisco.

San Francisco?

Most of the things we own are on their way to Omaha.

To heck with our things. I can get along without them.

I just can't find anybody beautiful enough to send out the laundry.

You don't look half bad for an old man who has been living it up on champagne and caviar.

There's nothing like a tour of duty in Europe to broaden a man's education.

Oh, you haven't changed a bit.

Well, shall I summon the battle staff to your palatial new office?

I better know what I'm talkin' about first. That's a good idea.

I'll take you to your house.

I'd rather stay at the B.O.Q. till Victoria gets here.

All righty.

Hello. This is Colonel Farr. I have the wing commander with me.

We're on our way to B.O.Q.

Get a red phone hooked up there right away. Thank you.

Well, now, tell me about Victoria.

I struck gold, Hollis. Pure gold.

Well, so you finally wangled your way back into the flying business, huh?

Took four long years. They'll have to blast me out of SAC this time.

Hollis, what happened to George Brooks?

George got clobbered by an Operational Readiness Inspection-- the O.R.I.

I thought he was doing just fine until then.

Too rough for him, huh?

Well, now, it's not quite the same as when the inspector used to go around... with a pair of white gloves looking for dust.

They don't give you any notice, you know.

A plane lands and out steps Happy Jack Kirby and his inspection team--

30 of them.

Before you even know they're on the base, you get a simulated war order from Omaha.

From then on, night and day for a week, they watch every move you make.

If the wing doesn't have a perfect showing in every department, the wing commander winds up as a-- as an air attaché in the Galápagos Islands.

If 51 other wing commanders can hack it, why couldn't George?

You've got to be hard and ruthless.

I don't think George had enough heel in him.

I wonder if you do.

Maybe I have more in me than you think.

This is Colonel Farr. Going to the alert facility with Colonel Caldwell.

Here we are, Jim.

Tankers, bombers--

Cocked and all set to take off.

The alert crews live in here day and night.

How long are they kept on alert? Three days and three nights.

We used to keep 'em here for seven days, but it created a morale problem... isolating them from their families for so long. Mm-hmm.


What's your job, Sergeant Kemler?

Tanker crew 0-4, sir. Boom operator.

You're on alert, aren't you? Yes, sir.

Suppose the whistle blows. Does the rest of the crew wait while you get your flying boots on?

Sir, I keep my boots with the rest of my gear in the aircraft.

Sounds like a pretty good system, Sergeant.

I've got enough heel in me, but maybe not enough brains.

They've been identified topside. Let them in.

Roger, sir.

When George took over, how much did he know about missiles?

Oh, about as much as you do.

I'd better start boning up. Great.

That means you only need about... 48 hours a day in your new job.

Control Center to missile squadron commander.

Colonel Farr is in the access portal with Colonel Caldwell.

Control Center to missile squadron commander.

Colonel Farr is in the access portal with Colonel Caldwell.

Here comes the pitch.

They're still sharp, Hollis, and they'll stay that way if I get the support I need.

If he had his way, he'd toss base personnel out of their houses... so his troops could move in.

Well, at least let's get their barracks in better shape.

Let's straighten out Bill Fowler so we can get a decent break on priorities.

Transportation, food-- You can't ask for a better base commander than Fowler.

He still thinks everything that flies has to have a rudder and a pilot.

Let's get into this before the battle staff meeting.

And put that off until tomorrow so I can get my bearings.

Quite a bird, isn't it? Yeah.

Just hope to God it never has to fly.

Colonel Fowler, are the missile complexes getting all the support you can give them?

I'm right now in the middle of a reappraisal of priorities.

Fine. I'd like a detailed report in writing. I'll get right on it.

Within the next 24 hours.

Colonel Josten, I've had a close look at personnel records.

How long would it take you to process discharges on these men?

Oh, two or three days, sir.

I want them out of here today. By sundown.

I don't want you gentlemen to get the impression that I'm coming here with a hatchet... looking for heads to chop off.

But I'll tell you this. I expect to see immediate improvement in all areas.

That's all for now. Thank you.

Colonel Garcia, weren't you a project officer on the B Yes, sir, I was. I knew I'd seen you somewhere. Good to have you on the staff.

Thank you, sir. Come on. I'll buy you a cup of coffee.

Every man whose record I gave Josten is below standard.

Why weren't they fired before? We've been waiting for replacements.

Waiting? You don't wait for replacements. You go out and get them.

What's your honest opinion of Josten?

He's a damn good man. They're all good men.

The best battle staff I ever worked with.

George Brooks is a good man too.

But the wing flunked the O.R.I.

Have you seen the official report on it? Mm-mmm.

Came in this morning.

Suggest you take a good look at it before you start chopping off heads.

They score you on everything.

Disaster control, oral exams, written exams, security tests.

Two of the men on the battle staff were down with the flu.

Some of the aircraft were being modified to carry the Hound Dog missile.

And we'd just gone operational at the Titan complexes.

Happy Jack arrives and gives us 15 minutes to get airborne and fly a perfect mission.

And we damn near did it.

And a wing commander with an outstanding record for the past 22 years gets the chop.

This is Jumbo... with a green flash message for Moonbeam in six parts.

Part one-- Victor Quebec Sierra.

Part two-- Sierra Alpha Kilo.

Part three-- Juliet Mike--

Colonel Farr with Colonel Caldwell in mobile going to the alert pad!

The way things are, this could be the real thing.

You never know.

This is Ranger Control to alert aircraft.

Starting roll call.

Ranger 1-1. Roger. 1-1 ready to taxi.

Ranger 2-3. Roger. 2-3 ready to taxi.

Ranger 1-9. Roger. 1-9 ready to taxi.

Ranger 2-6. Roger. 2-6 ready to taxi.

Ranger 1-5. Roger. 1-5 ready to taxi.

Rog. 2-4 ready to taxi.

This is Ranger Control with a green flash message.

Break, break. For alert force.

This is a practice quick reaction exercise.

Repeat. For alert force. This is a practice quick reaction exercise.

Three minutes and 20 seconds since the message came in, and they're ready to roll.

How long did it take in the O.R.I.?

Three twenty-five.

Well, at least you got off to a good start.

Happy Jack didn't think so, pal.

General Hewitt wants it done in three minutes flat.

Victoria? Hollis Farr.

Well, at long last. I'm delighted to meet you.

I'm sorry. Jim got trapped with a senate fact-finding committee.

They kind of dropped in on him. Oh.

Don't worry. He'll probably be free by the time we hit the base.

How did you recognize me in this crowd?

Well, I doubt if Jim's shown me more than a couple of dozen pictures, but I kind of recognized you anyway.

You know, I've seen quite a few pictures of you too.

My favorite one is the one of you in a kimono in a Tokyo teahouse.

Oh, you know, I don't really think I look my best in a kimono.

I can hardly wait to hear your version of that evening.

Same as Jim's, word for word. I swear.



Isn't he here? No.

I'll go see if I can pry him loose. Oh, thanks.

You must come and dine with us. Anytime you say.

Thanks, Victoria. Good-bye and thank you so very much.

Welcome to Carmody, Mrs. Caldwell.

I'm Evelyn Fowler, the base commander's wife.

I'm pleased to meet you, Mrs. Fowler.

Orange marmalade and some eggs for your breakfast. Did you do all this?

If there's anything I overlooked, be sure to tell me.

Oh, have you seen the bedroom? Well, no, not yet.

I'm afraid the curtains aren't the greatest, but they're the best that I could scrounge.


We're just next door. Do call if there's anything you want.

Uh, good-bye and thank you so much.

Jim. Oh, Jim, darling.

Finally made it.

Colonel Caldwell, in quarters.

So that's the red telephone I've read so much about. Mm-hmm.

And it's mine.

That's ours.

Please don't ring. Please!

It wouldn't dare.

I love the house, don't you? Mm-hmm.

Certainly like this room. Is something the matter with the others?

I haven't seen them. Oh?

The thought of roaming around an empty house without you in it--

I missed you enough as it was.

You... probably want to unpack. Mm-hmm.

Are you going to help me? Mm-hmm.

You don't think I'd let you out of my sight, do you?

Bring the phone, huh? The red one.

You have to stay that close to it?

Close enough to answer in six rings.

What if you didn't answer it till the seventh ring?

I'd have to have a pretty good excuse.


I thought you were going to unpack last night.

I met a fella. Mm-hmm.

Mmm. Breakfast is nearly ready.


Gosh, you're ugly. Thanks.

Oh, and, um, thank you for being so considerate.

Never know you'd been away from 52s.

Pretty fair low-level bomb run.

Let's go upstairs and take on some fuel. Show me how much you remember about that.


Heading 1-2-0. Rendezvous with Tanker at 5-6.

Ramrod 6-7. This is Ranger 1-9.

Stabilized in the observation position. Ready for contact.

Roger. Tanker ready for contact.

You're looking good, sir. Forward 10.

Up five.

Got your flying boots on, Kemler?

Yes, sir.

All set to walk home in case anything goes wrong.

Stand by for contact.

Anchor contact. Contact made.

You're in the green, sir. You have fuel flow.

Fuel panel checks. 20,000 pounds to go, Colonel.

Seepage in the refueling line.

The line broke!

Breakaway, breakaway, breakaway.

Ranger 1-9. This is Ramrod 6-7. What is your problem?

It's all over the place. One spark and we've had it.

Pilot to crew. Shut down all electrical equipment.

Broken fuel line.

Everyone on 100% oxygen. Prepare for possible bailout.

Ranger 1-9. This is Ramrod 6-7. Wh--

Pilot, am unable to contact receiver and have lost him visually.

Ranger Control, this is Ramrod 6-7.

Ranger 1-9 has just initiated emergency breakaway.

We have lost radio and visual contact.

Stand by, one. Gimme that.

This is Colonel Farr.

Did you encounter any problem in refueling prior to breakaway?

Negative. We have no knowledge whatever of their difficulty.

See if you can reestablish contact. Roger. Will advise.

What's his flight plan? He's, uh, due over the base in 20 minutes.

This is Colonel Farr in the command post.

Do you have Ranger 1-9 on radar?

Ranger 1-9 is 130 miles southeast of base... on a track of 3-1-5 degrees.

I'll be in touch with you.

I'm going up in a chase plane. Right, sir.

How bad an emergency?

We don't know yet.

Get somebody to take your place at the hospital and get to his wife as soon as you can.

Don't tell her anything, Evelyn, but stay right with her, just in case.

Those fumes are just as heavy down below, sir.

One spark, and this plane blows up.

We stand a hell of a chance of getting one if we lower the gear.

This is Gunsight.

Ranger 1-4 is now at your 10:00 position.

Turn left 30 degrees. Rog.

You're closing nicely. You should have him visually.

Rog, Gunsight.

Notify the crew we're going to lower the landing gear.

The colonel's going to drop the gear.

Oh, brother!

He better not get a spark when he does. I'll tell him that.

Hold it!

T-bird moving in too close.

He'd go right up with us!

There's nothing I can see to indicate the nature of the emergency.

He still hasn't extended his gear. That could be part of the problem.

All right, lower the gear.

Well, we've got wheels.

I hope we're as lucky with the flaps.

I think we've stretched our luck far enough.

We'll go in without them.

Our landing speed will be critical.

Brakes will be hot and a spark might explode the fuel.

We could blow our tires at any time.

Tell the crew when I stop to get the hell out and run! Yes, sir.

Looks like he's coming in for a flaps-up landing.

Have you alerted all crash equipment? Affirmative.

It's probably an exercise.

You get used to sirens around here.

Your airspeed's still too high!

It's the best I can do without flaps!

4,000-foot marker coming up!

3,000 foot.

2,000 foot.

1,000 foot.

Get out before the tires blow!

Evelyn, you can go home now.

And tell the kids I'll be a little late.

I'm buying that crew a drink.

What happened, pal? Couldn't find the switch to turn on your radio?

Wouldn't this be the perfect time to get hit by an alert?

There's plenty of pilots around here that can handle a chase plane.

The next time I'm off this base, you stick close to that phone where you belong!


The way she stood by me this afternoon when you were in the air, not a hint that you were in trouble.

She just kept nattering on until she got word that you were safe.

Good evening, General. Good evening, Jim.

May I present my wife? This is General Aymes, our air division commander.

How do you do? Welcome to Carmody, Mrs. Caldwell.

And forgive me for being late. Oh, not at all.

Jim told me how difficult it would be for you to get away.

Thank you so much for coming. Mind if I borrow your husband for a couple of minutes?

Of course not.

Thank you.

Hollis tells me you still haven't found out what caused the fuel leak.

We will, sir. I have a maintenance crew working on it now.

There you go. Now, where were we? The O.R.I.?

No. The F.S.P. And by the way, what is it?

Family Services Program. It's a very useful organization.

An airman's off flying and his wife has to get in to town to see the doctor... and there's no one to stay with the children.

What do we do? Drive or babysit? Both.

I alternate. Drive to San Francisco one week and babysit the next.

How do you find time for anything else?

I've never seen a place with so many children. Well, you better believe it.

SAC has just about the highest birthrate in the entire world... including China. Isn't that wonderful?

It's miraculous, when you consider how little time the men get to spend with their wives.


I'll just be a few minutes. Yes, sir.

You act as though you were never chewed out before.

I never was by you. You have been now. You know I was right.

Come on.

You're due for a refueling, Hollis. I'm fine. Thanks.

Jim? No, thanks.

Did a great job of bringing in that B-5-2, Jim.

We're lucky. We're proud of you.

I'll be just a few minutes.

Oh, Jim. Hmm?

Lipstick. Oh.

Colonel Garcia!

We've made every check in the book, sir. No defects.


I located a spare refueling receptacle.

She'll be okay for scheduled takeoff. Good.

But what happened with the leak in the old receptacle?

I don't know. But I'll stay with it till we find out.

Colonel Garcia!

Excuse me, sir.

The wrong size bolt on the refueling receptacle.

The mating flange, sir.

That's what did it.

Rubbed against the drain boss and wore it down.

Why wasn't that spotted in the last inspection?

Well, it's impossible to check every nut and bolt after every flight.

There just isn't time.

We can't afford to jeopardize combat crews because maintenance has a time problem.

I want the receptacle of every B-52 pulled out and inspected.

Sir, my men have been averaging over 70 hours a week.

And I hate to crank anything more into their schedule.

So do I.

Good work, Sergeant Banning.

Thank you, sir.

See you in the morning, gentlemen.

Well, I hope your men don't have any plans for tomorrow night, like sleeping or anything like that.

I'll straighten 'em out, sir.

You bomber crews showed a marked improvement on your last written tests.

But in positive control, nothing short of perfection is acceptable.

There's a limit to how much time you can spend on this in a three-day cycle.

For that reason, and because of other advantages in overall training efficiency, the 904th is going back on the seven-day alert as of now.

Revised schedules will be distributed this afternoon.

That will be all.

Get rid of that.

Jim, listen. I can tell you right now this isn't the answer.

When we were on a seven-day alert, morale hit a new low.

When you've got a losing team, there's only one way to handle morale problems-- start winning. Wait a minute. What about a five Have you thought about that? Yes, I have.

And I thought about that other morale booster you sent through today.

These men recommended for promotion. Yeah?

Disapproved. Every one of these men's way overdue.

If I recommend promotion, I'm saying in effect... that I'm satisfied with the efficiency of this wing.

I'm not, and I won't be till we pass the O.R.I.

If we don't, take it up with the new wing commander.

Jim? Jim, it's time to go, dear.

Mm-hmm. Come on.

Off the launching pad.


Uh, Jim, the seven-day alert came up at the meeting today.

I think you ought to know there's a strong feeling of resentment.

Oh, there is, is there? That's just too bad.

Sorry I didn't have a chance to talk it over with them in advance.

Now, look, you red-headed monster, I don't want any trouble out of you tonight.

Vick, I know what the 7-day alert does to families, and I'm sorry.

But I can't consider their feelings at this point.

There's just too much at stake.

Okay? Okay.

Hello. Hi.

Hi. Hi. Can I help?

You can be senior adviser.

The forecast is 40% chance of rain.

Should we stay inside or risk it? Decisions, decisions.

Risk it.

Let's stay outside.

Hi, Colonel Caldwell. Hello, girls.

You can run along now, girls. Oh, and do not stay for the second show.

But, Mother, they say it's one of the best movies--

Repeat. Do not stay. And come right back home after the show.

Yes, ma'am. Oh, Mother.

Daddy, can we go-- Do not stay for the second show.

Yes, sir. You won't find this in my service record, but when I was at staff college, I majored in martinis.

I'm the best. I can remember--

Oh, I can vouch for these.

Bill and I jumped the gun.

You didn't know, but this is a celebration.

Bill Jr. was just elected president of his class at Stanford.

How wonderful. Oh, congratulations.

Can you imagine a slip of a girl like this having a son at college?

Oh, Bill. Oops.

Sorry, darling. I'm sorry.

I, uh, just majored in mixing them, not pouring them.

Well, shall we drink to the young president?

Bill Jr. To Bill.


Morning. Morning, Bill.

Morning. Morning.

Remember when we used to take them off 30 seconds apart?

How we'd fight the prop wash? Yeah.

Wait till you see these monsters go-- Fifteen seconds apart.

The first one should be rolling in 15 seconds.

He will be.

Tell me about Bill Fowler. Has he slowed down any? Pressure too much for him?

No. I haven't seen any signs of it.

I've heard of officers being carried when they're hanging on for retirement pay.

Here he comes.

Right on the money. Uh-huh.

Bill's a pretty heavy drinker, isn't he?

I've never seen him drunk. I've talked to those that have.

And I've also checked his liquor bills at the club.

On the hack! That's the first one off! Check!

Fourteen seconds! Check!

He's startin' to wobble. Sure he was. He goes fast.

Sixteen seconds! Check!

There he goes again. Have to see it to believe it.

Sixteen seconds! Check.

You see how they veer off? They veer off to the side. Perfect!

Here he comes. Fourteen seconds! Check!

Gotta fan out! Those are perfect takeoffs!

Excellent pattern!

Well, you wanted 15-second intervals, plus or minus one. Okay?

Look, Hollis, I don't want this wing falling on its face... because my base commander isn't pulling his weight.

Now, how about working off that hostility with a fast game of handball?

I got a briefing.

You want a fast game? Yeah.

Look up Sergeant Banning. He's the line chief.

He any good?

He'll give you a workout.

20-4, serving.

Oh, boy. Have you ever played with Colonel Farr?

Uh, once. Just a couple of games.

That was enough for him, huh? Not enough for me.

Okay. You ready? I, uh-- I've just got time for a quick steam, Colonel.

They called us an hour earlier today for a disaster control drill.

Oh, all right.

That hard-nosed new wing commander is sure pouring it on, isn't he?


Sergeant, do you feel we're getting the most out of our men?

Sir, in my opinion, Colonel Garcia is the finest maintenance officer in the air force.

Mm-hmm. I agree with you.

How do your men feel about the freeze in promotions?

Three of 'em have already put out feelers for jobs on the outside.

Key men?

No, sir. The walkers.

Walkers? Mm, the kind you don't mind losing.

When you've got five minutes to get one of those beasts off the ground, the men who run their legs off, they're are the ones you want to hang on to.

It's amazing we have as many runners as we do.

More money on the outside. Easier life.

Why did you stay in, Sergeant?

Well, sir, I used to be... a pretty slow walker myself.

I mean, you really had to build a fire under my tail to get me to move.

Then one day General Hewitt dropped in to have a little talk with us.

And he built one hell of a fire.

Only this one wasn't under my tail.

He built a fire inside of me.

Sergeant, if I'm reading you right, you think I'm building the wrong kind of fires around here.

Sir, I'm sure you can judge that better than I can.

Why don't you stop sparring and level with me?

I don't know all the answers.

If I can't reach you, make a man like you understand what I'm driving at, the rest of 'em will never understand... and this wing will never get off its back.

I need your help, Banning.

How about it?

Excuse me, sir. I'm-- I'm late now.

Thanks far the workout, Colonel. Yeah.

Hello, Bill.

I ought to be on exhibit somewhere in a glass case.

Nobody ever had a cold like this one.

I heard you wanted to see me, Jim.

I just came back from that Chamber of Commerce luncheon in town.

I must've made a pretty good pitch.

They're going to raise money for that swimming pool next to the alert facility--

This just came through today. Huh?

"Review of all key personnel with more than 20 years' service."

Any slight superlatives you might like to sprinkle in my case... would be greatly appreciated. I can't do it, Bill.

I'm not going to recommend keeping you on.

What? I just can't.

Even though your past ratings have been excellent.

Excellent... or superior for more than 24 years.

Jim. Jim, do you know what this means for me?

Involuntary retirement. I'm through.

I know. SAC has changed, Bill.

It's changed so much and so fast. And you think I haven't.

Is that what you mean? Yes.

All right. Why don't you just give me one example?

Missiles? I've been studying missiles for the last three years, night and day.

Every spare moment. Surely there must be some other reason for--

Oh, you... think I've been drinking too much.

Is that it? That's it.

Did it ever interfere with my efficiency? Was I ever drunk on duty?

You're the one that mentioned drinking. Why do you bring it up?

Have I ever let you down?

You might, Bill. You might at just the wrong time.

What am I going to do?

I've been in the air force all my life.

The air force is my life.

Jim. Jim, you might've had me transferred. You still can.

A few more years, I'd be able to draw full retirement pay.

I'm sorry, Bill.

I just can't give you a phony rating and pass you on to another commander.


I've just been with Evelyn.

Oh, Jim, how could they do that to Bill?

After 24 years! I know. It's rough.

He couldn't adjust to it. That's all.

I'm wondering how he's going to adjust to civilian life.

He won't have any trouble finding a job. A job?

At his age, to start all over again.

And if Bill Jr.'s got to leave college--

It couldn't be helped. It's something that had to be done.

Did it have to be done in that way?

I mean, to rip a man's life to pieces in one stroke. Five lives.

Jim, couldn't you do something?

I mean, couldn't you put in a good word for him, speak to General Aymes?


I'm the one who said he had to go.

Yes. I had no choice.

You smash a man's life without one word of warning?

You don't get any warning in this business.

My job is to have this wing ready for any emergency.

Is the job everything?

Don't people matter at ail?

Doesn't warmth and friendship and--

Jim, what's happened to you?

I'm not running a rehabilitation center.

If I haven't made that clear to you by now-- No, you haven't!

I didn't know you could be so callous. All right, then let's drop it.

There are enough people in SAC to question every move I make... without getting it from you.

Good morning.

Good morning, sir.

Just wanted to borrow the chair.

Good morning, Colonel. Do you mind if I sit down?

I wish you would, Sergeant. Thank you.

The cook must have walked through the potatoes.

They taste pretty good today.

Yes, sir.

All right.

Now, you're sure you've got a ride back to the base?

Positive. My sister's definitely picking me up.

Thanks so much, Mrs. Caldwell.

Oh! Konichiwa, Victoria-san.


What does that mean? "Where's the teahouse?"

It's the only full sentence I know, and I think we better skip the translation.

So, what are you doing for lunch? Well--

There's a wonderful restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf.

I was going back to the base. Oh.

I'll toss in a free tour of Chinatown.

Oh, I'd love to, Hollis, but--

And a ride on the cable car. Okay?

Okay. Okay.

Hollis, have you seen the Fowlers?


I hear they found a terrific apartment.

View of the bay. Just what they wanted.

It's just exactly what Bill Fowler wanted.

That was a rough one for Jim, Vickie.

It's not the first time a wing commander's had to fire a friend, but... you better respect a man who's strong enough... to set aside his own personal feelings.

Hollis, was Jim always like this, and I just didn't see it?

Or do you think he's forcing himself... to live up to his image of a wing commander?

It's not just his image.

You've known him a long time.

Is it Jim or is it the job?

It's the job.

There wasn't a pilot in Korea who wouldn't welcome a chance to serve in Jim's squadron.

Not that he was a soft touch. He was as hard as nails when he had to be.

But... when the pressure was off--

The difference is when you're a wing commander, the pressure's never off.

I didn't think he had that kind of... toughness.

Well, it's a side of him I've never seen before.


Colonel Caldwell in quarters.

Sorry, Vick. It wasn't my fault.

It was Robert H. Goddard's.

Who's he?

He invented ballistic missiles for World War I.

If it weren't for him, we wouldn't have the Titan, and I'd have been here two hours sooner.

Do I have time for a drink? Let's both have one.

Let's celebrate that this is the earliest you've ever been late.

Where did that come from?

Oh, that? That's from your absentee husband.


How did you find time?

Oh, I saw an ad in a magazine.

It's quite a, uh, fig leaf, isn't it?

It's absolutely gorgeous.

Oh, I love it.

It's so sheer.

I believe in protecting my property... without obstructing the view.

Oh, I'm going to save it for a really special occasion.

Okay. Here.

The Russian Ballet.


Any four No, sir. It's been real quiet.

Oh, General Aymes wants you to call.

Well, get him for me, will you, please?

Oh, Jim. Mm This just came in from SAC headquarters.

They want a detailed report immediately.

Oh, thank you. Mm-hmm.

Tell Colonel Farr I wanna see him. Yes, sir.


Colonel Caldwell in quarters.

Do you like it?

You know I do.

No, the coiffeur.

It took me all afternoon.

It looks wonderful, Vick.

Ann Morse told me about a marvelous after-theater place, just in case you didn't have time to do research... on the San Francisco nightspots before I arrived.

Or did you?

Don't answer that.

I can't leave the base tonight, Vick.

I have a report I have to get out to headquarters, and it has to be in by midnight.

Don't explain. I'm-- I'm sure it couldn't be helped.

It won't always be like this.

It's bound to level off somewhere. Then we can--

Yes, yes, I know.

I spoke to Hollis.

He's free tonight, and I thought maybe the two--

What's it gonna be? Ann Morse's place or the Top of the Mark?

Oh, I really think it's too late.

Do you mind, Hollis? No. Not at all.


Hello, Victoria.

I've missed you.

I've missed you too.

How's Bill? Oh, he's fine.

Except for a cold that kept him home... on a night we've been looking forward to for months.

Hollis. Evelyn, dear, how are you?

How nice to see you, Hollis. How you been, Bill?

Just fine, Colonel Farr.

Bill, this is Mrs. Caldwell.

How do you do?

I've heard so much about you, Bill.

How are you getting on at Stanford?

I don't go there anymore.

No, he's going back next year.

He majors in chemistry, and he thought a year of practical work would--

Well, you see, this wonderful opportunity came along--

A job in a lab here in town. I'll get the car, Mother.

No, no. I'll go with you.

See you soon, Victoria. We must get together.

Good-bye. Bye.

You okay?

You've got it while I check the deicing equipment.

Fire on number six!

Emergency checklist.

Close throttles. Pull fire wall switches.

Sir, there's a phone call for you. It's urgent.

All right.

Colonel Caldwell.

Bill Fowler shot himself.

They say it was an accident. He was cleaning a gun.

Well, how bad is he?

I don't know. I'm going into San Francisco to be with Evelyn.

I'll be right over and drive you down.

I don't think that would be a very good idea.

I'll call you later.

Well, he's got a fighting chance.

He's going to be all right. He's got so much to live for.

I thought I knew him so well.

But this...

just doesn't seem possible.

If I could only believe it wa an accident.

Things have been building up in Bill for years.

You see, he was a great combat leader.

Ask any of the older men.

He was once the youngest command pilot in the air force.

Then everything changed.


The red phone.

Constant pressure, day in and day out.

It was just too much for him.

For years he's been at the top of the promotion list, and everyone but Bill knew he'd never get his first star.

He should have retired years ago.

Instead he...

majored in martinis.


You listen to me, Victoria.

Don't you ruin your life or Jim's by blaming him.

It was bound to happen.

If it hadn't been Jim, it-- it would have been something else.

Colonel Caldwell in quarters.

How is he? No change.

Did I guess right with the scrambled eggs, or would you like something else? Oh, no, they're fine.

You want some milk? No, thank you.

I think we ought to talk this out, Vick.

So do I.

Jim, I'm sorry that I felt that you were callous. It was unfair of me.

I know it's the job, and I know how important the job is.

But why does it have to be you?

There are other people better suited.

I mean, it wouldn't go against the grain with them.

It doesn't with me.

It does. I don't care how much you deny it. It does.

Let me tell you something, Vick.

If I thought I were the wrong man for this job, I'd step out right now.

But I don't think so.

And it's up to me to give it everything I've got.

Bill Fowler gave it everything he had.

He just didn't know when to stop pushing himself.

Are you sure that you'll know? Yes. If the time ever comes.

I'll know before anyone else does, and I won't have to be told what to do about it either.

In other words, you don't want to discuss it anymore.

I do want to discuss it.

Jim, I want you to put in for another assignment.

There are many jobs in SAC just as important.

Well, at least give me a chance to have a fair crack at this one.

Sure it's tough. It's tough on both of us now.

When this wing gets back on its feet, things will be entirely different.

And so will you.

You've changed so much already, I hardly know you.

Jim, I wish you'd think about putting in for another assignment. Will you?

Yeah. I'll think about it.

Thank you.

Has Hollis ever told you why he never got married?

Well, no. No, he hasn't.

Because he's a coward.

It takes a brave man to look his wife... straight in the eye, night after night, and say, "Sweetheart, I just got a call from the command post, and I have to leave."

Carry on, my love. I'll muddle through.

One of these days, I'm gonna look you straight in the eye... and say, "Honey, I'm off for the weekend. Let's go to Lake Tahoe."

How would you like that? I'd adore it.

Good. We'll do it.

The Jostens have offered to take you home, or I could drop you off now.

Which would you prefer?

Well, if you don't mind, I think I'll stay on a bit.

All right. I'll try and come back if I can.

I like your hair that way.

* Here at SAC we're filled with pride *

* There's just one thing we can't decide *

* Which we'd rather get clobbered by *

* An enemy attack or an O.R.I. *

* Our wing commander's got a racket *

* Though sometimes it's hard to hack it *

* Whenever he gets his wife alone *

* Ding-a-ling-a-ling goes the little red phone *

* Oh, we love the seven-day alert *

* For a week we will not see a skirt *

* But we know it's part of SAC's main goal *

* To test our positive control *

* Absence makes the heart grow fonder *

* Whatever became of the wild blue yonder? *

* How we wish the good old days were back *

* In SAC *


I don't know any more. I don't know any more.

Could I have your attention, please? Could I have your attention?

I've just received a message from Colonel Morse in the command post.

He's leaving for his quarters immediately, and he'd like us to drop over there and eat him out of house and home.

Coming with us, Victoria? I can drive Victoria.


I-- I don't think so.

See you at the Morses.

What's the matter?

When I ran into you at the BX the other day, we got two or three looks like that.

Did you notice? Oh, don't worry. It's ridiculous.



All right, I'll drop you off at the Morses, and they can drive you home.

I don't think I'll go, Hollis.

Do you mind dropping me off on the way?

All right.

Hello, Colonel. How are you? Hello, Banning.

Don't you ever go home?

Why? All I've got at home is a wife and five kids.

At least it was five last time I counted.

Excuse me, sir.

What's the problem? Oh, it's nothing serious.

Well, then what's Colonel Garcia doing here?

He was up all last night on a check flight. Oh, I know, sir.

We have standing orders to call him whenever there's a problem.

No matter how small it is. Excuse me.

No sweat, Colonel.

I spotted the trouble just after I called you.

Looks okay to me.

Evening, Colonel. Joe.

I think I found one reason... why maintenance has a time problem.

What is it? You.

You're here as an executive, not a mechanic.

You're supposed to train airmen and officers to do their job, not do it for them.

You're trying to pitch, catch and play first base all at the same time, and that's what's slowing them down!

You belong in the command post or in your office... unless there's a major emergency, and in your bed when you're out on your feet the way you are now.

Now, sir, if I can't run my department the way I think I ought to--

Joe, go on home and get some sleep.

We'll talk about it in the morning.

All right. Bye. Bye-bye.

Hi. Hi.

Uh, Garcia told me about the chewing out you gave him last night.

I wouldn't exactly call it a chewing out.

You don't know ol' Smokey Joe.

He wants a transfer to B-58s.

Oh, come on.

I think you'd better smooth his ruffled feathers quick and talk him out of it.

I don't wanna talk him out of it unless he develops a backup system.

Suppose he gets sick or has an accident?

Maintenance would bog down completely. And if an O.R.I. hits--

Oh, boy. This is where I came in. I got the same speech from George Brooks.

What happened? You convince him he was wrong?

No. I just pointed out he'd have a king-sized morale problem if he replaced Garcia.

His men think the world of him, Jim.

So do I. But he can't do everything himself.

You'll go a long way before you find anybody as good.

He'd be a lot more effective if he'd learned how to delegate authority, and he's going to.

What about this request for transfer?

I never saw it.

Oh, now, come on, you stall around on this, all he'll do is go to the inspector general.

Why go out on a limb?

Out on a limb?

How in the hell do you think I've been living since I took this job?

What's wrong with going out on a limb, Hollis?

Don't get excited. I didn't mean it that way.

Well, I like to know exactly what you did mean?

Why, I just meant you should be careful the way you handle it.

You leave this one with me.

And if somebody saws off that limb, it'll be my neck, not yours.

Ranger Control, this is Boxcar 3-0. Over.

I'd like to see your flight orders on tomorrow's crews.

Yes, sir.

Break, break. Silver Toned Hotel.

Break, break.

Authentication time is 06/0130.

Roger. Copy your traffic.

Boxcar 3-0. Out.

Who authorized that leave?

Colonel Farr.

General Aymes come back from the Titan complex yet?

Yes, sir. He's at the Missile Assembly Building.

Runway temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Break, break.

General Aymes.

There's something I'd like to discuss with you, sir, before you leave the base.

Well, I'm just about set to take off. What is it, Jim?

Could we use your office, Tom? Of course.

I want to replace Hollis Farr.

Why? What's happened?

Are we in good enough shape in the electronic squadron... to give the commander a leave?

No, I wouldn't say so. No.

Hollis Farr gave him a leave.

And you're going to fire him for that?

No, not just for that.

General, you're on top of three wings.

You don't have time to take off the cowling and look at the nuts and bolts.

That's my job in the 904th, and I finally found the monkey wrench.

Why was maintenance below par in the last O.R.I.?

And low-level bombing, alert crew exams, air refueling?

Because Hollis Farr was winning friends and losing efficiency... with a relaxed training program.

An 8:00-to-5:00 workday, a policy geared to normal times.

I inherited the most popular vice commander in SAC, but one who will not assume responsibility.

Friend or no friend, he's out, John-- unless you override me.

I take it you have a replacement in mind.

Mike Stanley, at the Air War College. Up for reassignment next month.

Okay. It's your wing.

I'll move Hollis out as soon as Stanley can take over.

Of course you know what this will do to his career.

Maybe a good swift kick like this is exactly what he needs.

It might straighten him out.

I just wonder if your timing is good.

Because of the O.R.I.? No.

Because it might look as if you have personal reasons.

There's been talk, Jim, about Hollis and Victoria.

Even the grapevine around here is below par.

I can't run a wing on what people think. I want him out of here.

Okay, Jim.

All right, the low-level bombing on this mission was red hot.

One after the other right into the hat.

As far as air refueling, well, if those tankers were giving out trading stamps, you'd all have a full book.

I'm proud of you. Now-- I'd like to say a few words.

I don't share Colonel Farr's enthusiasm about this mission.

Based on your weight and weather conditions, your B-52 performance charts called for a takeoff roll of 8,000 feet, not 9,000, which three of yours took.

You're using improper technique, and you're slow in getting off the ground.

And it's burning up time, and time is our enemy.

What the hell good is bombing accuracy... if enemy missiles can knock the bombers out before they even take off?

Major Jarvis. Yes, sir.

You're low man on this mission, Major.

Was there any problem with the aircraft?

No, sir.

From now on, any crew that fails to measure up... goes back on training status until they can demonstrate desired proficiency.

Are there any questions?

That'll be all. Dismissed.

What the hell got into you? You chopped my legs out from under me out there.

How do you expect me to have any authority from now on? I don't. You're fired.

-I just talked to General Aymes. I'm replacing you.

Y-You gonna tell me why I've been fired, or is that asking too much?

My job is to get this wing on its feet. Anything that stands in the--

Quit the lecture and get to the point. I intend to.

It's been one big happy family, hasn't it?

The fishing's good at Grant's Pass. Tell Hollis Farr. He'll okay a leave.

You don't like the seven-day alert. Tell Hollis Farr. He aims to please.

He's not on any limb. No, sir. Let the wing commander stick his neck out.

Hang on as vice commander till something cushier turns up.

And don't ever get in a spot where they can turn the heat on you.

Well, it's about time somebody did.

And if a man can't stand the heat, the best thing to do is stay out of the kitchen.

You know something?

I once said you didn't have enough heel in you to be a wing commander.

You got enough for the entire air force.

What time are the Jostens due?

I canceled dinner tonight. I said I had a headache.


I'm afraid I wouldn't be very good company anyway.

Colonel Caldwell in quarters.

I see the spinet finally arrived.

Looks good over here, doesn't it?


Well, aren't you going to ask me?

Ask you what?

If there's any truth in the rumors about Hollis and me.

I think you know me better than that.


I don't really know you at all anymore.

It's like-- like living with a stranger.

I don't fit into this life. I've got to get away.

I've got to get away and think things out.

Well, where would you go?

I'm not sure.

Home. London.

There's a boat leaving on the 20th.

Are you sure that's what you wanna do?


I'll get you something to eat.

First, we'll review the latest safety procedures in the Hound Dog.

Prior to our scheduled drop on the Eglin range, the positive locking device will not be unlocked... till the aircraft is actually over the range on the run.

If the release is not accomplished, the release system will be positively locked... prior to departure from the range.

The Broken Arrow exercise at 4-B went off very well, General.

Sorry I couldn't get there. I went into town to see Bill Fowler.

How is he? Any improvement?

Physically, yes. But the fight's drained out of him.

Winston Aircraft offered him a good job. He's just not interested.

Yes, I know. We've all dropped in to see him.

If something doesn't happen to snap him out of this, he's licked.

Come in.

Hello, Bill.

How are you doing?

I thought I'd drop in... and see how you're getting along.

Nice room.

I, uh--

I've been meaning to read this book.

Any good?


If there's anything I can do, let me know.

I hear you've been using that hatchet again, chopping off more dead wood.

Who's next after Hollis?

Do you have it worked out in advance, or do you just play it by ear?

Well, that's one hell of a system.

Next step, division commander, then on to 15th air force headquarters, then Omaha.

You just might chop your way right to the top.

The youngest four-star general in air force history.

I'll tell you what's wrong with your system.

Men do their best for leaders who inspire them, not for hatchet men.

That's why General Hewitt always stood out, he and all the others who made it.

Oh, they've got hatchets. But when they chop, they know it's dead wood... because they know how to judge men.

You can't even judge yourself.

What makes you think you know who's got it and who hasn't?

I sure as hell had you pegged.

You couldn't even do a good job of blowing your brains out!

Just a minute!

So you think I'm washed up, huh?

Well, let me tell you something, mister.

I've got a job waiting for me when I walk out of here-- a good job.

And before I'm through, I'm gonna make you choke on every word of this.

Now, get out of here.

Who is he visiting?

Are you Colonel Caldwell? Yes.

There's a call for you.

Colonel Caldwell. Ralph Josten.

The tower has an unidentified KC-135 on final approach.

No emergency declared. Smells like an O.R.I.

Notify all members of the battle staff.

I'll be there in 20 minutes.

Colonel Farr.

You're sure it's Kirby?

I don't know, but you'd better get over here just in case.

Remember, you're the storekeeper till the boss gets back.

I'm on my way.

This is an O.R.I.-- a no-notice Operational Readiness Inspection.

In nine minutes, headquarters SAC... will dispatch a fast-reaction message... to test your readiness to launch aircraft and missiles... in a maximum of 15 minutes... and to check your effectiveness... in carrying out a simulated Emergency War Order.

No one needs to be notified until the order comes in from SAC.

Meanwhile, carry on with what you were doing.

This is Jumbo with a silver flash message from Moonbeam... in six parts.

Break, break.

Part one-- Papa Kilo Zulu.

Part two-- Sierra Tango Hotel.

Part three--

Command post.

This is Colonel Caldwell. Is it Kirby?

Stand by. This is Colonel Farr.

Bravo. Break, break.

Authentication time is 23/0655 Zulu.

Affirmative. It's the O.R.I.

Keep me posted. I'll be there as soon as I can.

Prepare for simulated launch on all missiles.

Attention, all personnel.

Prepare for simulated launch on all missiles.

This is Ranger Control to all-alert aircraft.

Starting roll call.

Ranger 1-1. 1-1 ready to taxi.

Ranger 2-3. 2-3 ready to taxi.

Ranger 1-9. Roger. 1-9 ready to taxi.

Ranger 2-5.

Roger. 2-5 ready to taxi.

Ranger 1-3.

Roger. 1-3 ready to taxi.

Ranger 1-8.

Roger. 1-8 ready to taxi.

Ranger Control. Ranger 1-1 ready to roll.

1-1, you're cleared for takeoff.

Full power coming up, five seconds.

Four, three, two, one, tag.

Ranger 1-5.

Ranger 2-4.

Fourteen seconds. So far, so good.

Ranger 2-7.

Ranger 2-5.

Ready to raise launcher number one on my mark.

Ready. Mark.

Ranger 2-1.

Cannot get full power on number six engine.

Ranger 2-1. Cannot get full power on number six engine.

Maintenance Control, get over to 2-1 right away.

That's all the power you're gonna get on number six-- 80%.

That'll knock us out of the box. Ground abort.

It wouldn't even add a thousand feet to the takeoff roll.

It's against peacetime regulations.

They'd flunk us on the whole O.R.I.

Any improvement? No, sir. Eighty percent.

Give me the command post.

Colonel Farr. What?

The command post is in contact with Colonel Caldwell.

Anything you wanna talk to him about?

Negative. Ranger Control.

Ranger 2-1. Negative.

We're simulating wartime conditions. Linke, go.

Ranger Control. Ranger 2-1 ready to roll.

Roger, 2-1. You're clear to go.

Keep a close check on number six.

If it drops below 80 percent at the decision point, we'll abort the mission and clear the runway.

8,000-foot marker coming up.

Number-six engine, 80%.

7,000-foot marker coming up.

Speed, 112 knots.

Decision point coming up.


We're committed.

Losing power on number six. Shall I shut it down?

Negative. We've passed the refusal point.

3,000-foot marker coming up.

No improvement on number six.

Speed, 150 knots.

Liftoff point. Now.

Ranger Control, that is affirmative.

You've got six more aircraft to go.

Command post.

This is Colonel Caldwell. I'm on my way to the flight line.

Colonel, Ranger 1-8 is at the end of the runway with engine trouble.


We've got less than three minutes to get him off!

Easy does it, Sergeant. Thank you, Colonel.

1-8, you'll be the last to take off.

You've got one minute and 55 seconds to roll.

Hey, Chief, how does it look? Have they found it yet?

We're working on it.

Get the lead out! I've got a minute and 50 seconds... before they score me as an abort.

Try it now.

Try it again.

1-8, you've got 50 seconds. How you looking?

We're okay. Button 'er up. I'm taking off.

That's what I call cutting it close.

Just so we cut it. That's all that counts.

Hi, Victoria.

I'm sorry to get you out in the middle of the night, but we thought that the wing commander's wife would like to be present... during an O.R.I.

Is there anything I can do?

Well, the patient in 712 is having a bad night. Do you play gin rummy?

I can learn.

We got them all off with 20 seconds to spare.

That sure was a cliff-hanger.

This your first O.R.I., isn't it? Yes, sir.

Let me tell you something, Sergeant. We're still hanging.

And we will be during the air refuelings, bomb runs and every other phase of the mission... for the next 14 1/2 hours.

See how the coffee's holding out, would you, Sergeant?

Yes, sir.

You care for a cup of coffee, Colonel?

Don't mind if I do. Thank you, Sergeant.

I sent a plane with 80% power on one engine.

The B Yes. 2-1.

I know it's against peacetime regulations, but I decided there was no risk involved.

Operations normal so far on 2 Yes, sir.

All right, say it. Say I was wrong.

I don't know how Kirby's gonna score it, but at least you finally stuck your neck out.

This is Ranger 1-5.

Our radar is inoperative.

Repeat: Our radar is inoperative.

This is Colonel Caldwell.

Have you checked everything in the DASH Yes, sir, we have. And in the maintenance manual.

Our radar is completely out. Request further instructions.

Keep trying! We've tried everything in the book, Colonel.

It's impossible to repair it in flight.

Who's his radar operator? Trubek. He's the best there is.

All right. Proceed on course... and fly the rest of the route as briefed.

Roger. 1-5.

Well, that's one abort.

And two flunks us.

Let's not have the wake yet.

Josten, let me have a look at the flight plan. Yes, sir.

Ranger Control. 2-1.

Roger, 2-1. Go ahead.

Refueling completed as scheduled.

Encountered light to moderate turbulence.

Everything's in the green. Roger, 2-1.

Have a good flight.

Ranger Control. Ranger 2-7. Over.

This is Ranger Control. Go.

Ranger 2-7 in Bart's Rock refueling area.

Encountering extremely heavy turbulence.

Disconnect. We'll try it again.

Have had several disconnects.

Do not think I can get my full fuel load in required time.

How much fuel have you taken on, 2 Almost half the briefed on-load.

Have nine minutes left to take on the rest.

Ranger 2-7, this is Colonel Caldwell.

If you feel the risk is excessive, you're cleared to return to the base.

There goes the ball game.

I think I can hack it, sir. I'd like to try once more.

Okay, but play it safe.

Remember, this is a peacetime exercise.

101. Do you mind, Mrs. Caldwell?

Oh, no, not at all.

An appendectomy. He came out of it just fine.

And his wife has been notified, if that's what he wants to know.

His name is Kemler. Sergeant Kemler.

Will you make a call for me, please?

Your wife's already been notified.

Huh? Oh, no.

The call I want is to, uh, Air Refueling Operations.

Would you ask them how Ramrod 6-7 did in the O.R.I.?

Would you, ma'am? I'd be glad to.

Extension, uh, 1021.

Hello. I'm speaking for Sergeant Kemler from the base hospital.

No, he's fine. No complications.

He was anxious to know how his plane--

Tell him the whole damn squadron made it, Mrs. Kemler.

Oh, excuse me, Mrs. Caldwell.

All bombers received maximum on-load in specified time.

I'll tell him. Bye.

What did he say?

"The whole damn squadron made it."


I'm Mrs. Kemler. May I go in and tell him?

Just exactly what the patient needs.

Room 101. Thank you.

Ground Mobile, this is 2-6.

I'm the last one down at 34 after the hour.

Rog, 2-6.

Hi, John. How'd it go?

Pretty good.


Any aborts? One.

And one that could go either way.

Want some coffee?

Thanks. I believe in moderation.

No more than 20 cups a day.

There's one guy I never thought I'd be rooting for.

He's getting the bomb scores.

Yeah. Thanks.


Excuse me. Here they are.

Well, there's nothing we can do about it now.

Morning, sir. Morning. Get any sleep?

No, sir. I got in a couple of naps.

That does it for me.

A 10- or 15-minute nap, and I'm okay.

You know, it's remarkable how little sleep a man can get along with if he has to.

It certainly is, sir.

Your crews did better than ever on positive control.

I'm glad to hear that, sir.

Colonel Farr, you're aware of the peacetime regulation... against sending up an aircraft without full power?

Yes, sir.

Sir, we were simulating wartime conditions.

I would have made the same decision.

So would I.

And I'm not gonna score it as an abort.

We're in.

He didn't even mention the bombing scores.

Oh, I'll guarantee you they're great. Listen. He smiled at you.

When Happy Jack smiles at a wing commander, it's like giving him the Airman of the Year award.

You could have contacted me last night before you sent that plane up.

Yes, I could have, couldn't I?

How did you like it out there on that limb?

Gets, uh, kind of breezy, doesn't it?

Yeah, it sure does.

You stay with it, pal.

You might even get to like it after a while.

Think I'll go get some sleep.

Good morning. I hear it's going very well.

Yes, it is.

I'm glad.

I was worried when I heard that you weren't here at the start.

My first trip to San Francisco.

Wouldn't you know?

How is Bill?

Bill's going to be just fine.

Colonel Caldwell in quarters.

It's a good thing they don't score you on your home life.

I'd fall flat on my face.

It-- It isn't just you. It's everyone in SAC.

There was an airman at the hospital.

Do you know the first thing he asked about when he came around?

His wife or his children?

No, he wanted to know how his plane did in the O.R.I.

I know it doesn't make any sense to you, but... when you've spent a lifetime in SAC, you--

But he hasn't.

He's still in his 20s.

I met his wife too.

She doesn't think he's indifferent or callous.

She understands.

I wish I had.

Gosh, you're ugly.

Colonel Caldwell's quarters.

It's for me.

Yes. Yes, of course.

No. No, it won't take a moment to get there, General Kirby.


He wants to see me about the Family Services Program.

I'll be back as soon as I can, dear.

You will have to learn to live with these things in SAC.