E-4B Nightwatch: Inside America's 'Doomsday' Plane

In the event a major stateside disaster or nuclear attack destroys ground-based command and control (C2) facilities, the upper echelons of the US government turn to one aircraft to keep the country moving: the Boeing E-4B.

Operated by the 595th Command and Control Group (C2G), an 8th Air Force unit at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, the aircraft serves as the current National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) and represents a critical piece in the US’s strategic deterrence. Responsible for leading this unit is Colonel Brian Golden who, alongside Lieutenant Colonel Michael Shirley 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron (ACCS) commander and Major Theodore ’Ted’ DeBonis 595th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) commander, helps deliver its unique mission.

USAF E-4B Nightwatch [USAF/Tech Sgt William A O’Brien]
Visible in this shot of E-4B 75-0125 lifting off are the two towed aerial outlets, one above the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) exhaust and the second aft of the the landing gear. This pod houses the LFTS aerial cable used to communicate with US nuclear submarines. USAF/Tech Sgt William A O’Brien


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