Let My People Go
Scuttlebutt on TACAMO Future
by Vern Lochausen, Captain, USN (Retired) & President, TACAMO Community Veterans Association
Most folks have seen it in the aerospace press reports and it does appear as if DoD is planning to give the Navy a gift in the future. In my view it is like what happened to Pharaoh in the movie “The Ten Commandments” when Moses played by Charlton Heston told him “Let my people go!” TACAMO may very well get back to our legacy roots and let the Air Force have the whole airborne command post mission back.
In 1992, the same DoD decided it was best to retire all the ABNCPs jets and give that last ABNCP mission, the Omaha former “Looking Glass” or CINCSAC ABNCP to the E-6. It was a shiny new jet in those days with 8 quality bunks and a fine crew rest area forward. By 1998, all that went away and was replaced by a battle staff (read joint command post crew) and Looking Glass retired to a museum. The E-4, we called it the NEACP back in the day, is now the NAOC, National Airborne Operations Center. It’s a not so shiny 747-200 now and the Air Force is apparently wanting to put its mission together with the last ABNCP mission on some new jet and call it the SAOC, survivable airborne operations center. Man I hope it is air refuelable and got lots of engines with a name like that. If they do that, then my people are let go and they don’t have to support a joint command post crew anymore. Less time on alert, less dealing with joint folks and hopefully more focus on our NAVY mission.
As usual, studies are going on to find the best COA, Course of Action, but in a very few years DoD will make a decision, having received the recommendations that come through with the Joint Staff, Air Force and Navy and they will issue an implementation plan, and hopefully it’s back to a more simple tasking. Meanwhile, with the Mercs approaching 30 years old, the Navy is starting to study what’s next- extend their service life or buy a new jet. As the Chinese curse, quoted by Robert Kennedy in the crazy late 1960s goes “May you live in interesting times.”