STAlogo 541

Preserving America's Legacies...One Story At-A-Time


To watch complete interview click here.

054: "Gear Up"

Brian Vognild, Colonel (ret.) - USAF

BrianTanker 400
Lt. Brian Vonild next to support tanker.

"Gear Up"...are words that could personify Brian Vognild's approach in his over 30 years service in the United States Air Force, South Dakota Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserves.  He would ultimately retire as a Colonel, but on October 22, 1988 it may have been the last words, that then, 1st Lieutenant Brian Vognild would ever hear after the Boeing EC-135C got airborne.

What was suppose to be a routine Strategic Air Command (SAC) Operation Looking Glass* mission was interupted by an explosion in the #3 engine that started a series of events that could have ended the lives of all the crew members on board.  How he got there, what happened that day and what he learned from it is Brian's story.

Boeing EC-135C - "054"
click to enlarge


*Looking Glass (or Operation Looking Glass) is the code name for an airborne command and control center operated by the United States, in more recent years it is now more officially referred to as the ABNCP (airborne command post). The Looking Glass would provide command and control of U.S. nuclear forces in the event that ground-based command centers were destroyed or otherwise rendered inoperable. In such an event, the general officer aboard the Looking Glass serves as the Airborne Emergency Action Officer (AEAO) and by law assumes the authority of the National Command Authority and could command execution of nuclear attacks. The AEAO is supported by a battle staff of approximately 20 people, with another dozen responsible for the operation of the aircraft systems.


GrandLiving LakeLorraineLogo.381This Grand Patriots story is sponsored by Grand Living at Lake Lorraine offering independent living, assisted living and memory care services.  Grand Living provides distinctive senior living communities with a hospitality focus.  For more information click on the link above or call 605/940-4118.