When the 1960s began the United States and really the entire world were on treacherous ground. The Cold War was getting colder each and every day. Americans were building bomb shelters in their back yards and basements. We didn’t know it at the time but the capability of the Soviet surface to air missiles (SAMs) would force alterations to the mission profiles of just about every Strategic Air Command (SAC) bomber. We were headed toward a war in Southeast Asia that would sap the strength of the armed forces of the United States so much it would take decades to fully recover.
In the Air Force-produced film “Air Force Missile Mission”, Jimmy Stewart (that’s Brigadier General James Stewart USAF to you and me) did his best to explain for what we needed all of the various missiles and different aircraft in the Air Force inventory in the late 1950s / early 1960s timeframe. The film is like a catalog of the bomber, fighter, and missile weapons systems in use at the time. Beginning with his comparison between the World War II-era aircraft he first flew and then-current aircraft, Stewart steps through just about every major weapon system in the Air Force arsenal.
Starting with the North American P-51 Mustangs and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts to Consolidated B-24 Liberators and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of World War II, the film then highlights Boeing B-47 Stratojets, Consolidated B-58 Hustlers, and Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses along with the Douglas B-66 Destroyer and Martin B-57 Canberra tactical bombers. Air Defense Command (ADC) and Tactical Air Command (TAC) North American F-100 Super Sabres, McDonnell F-101 Voodoos, Convair F-102 Delta Daggers, Lockheed F-104 Starfighters, Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs, and Convair F-106 Delta Darts are also seen in action.
Martin MGM-1 Matador and MGM-13 Mace, McDonnell ADM-20 Quail, Douglas PGM-17 Thor Northrop SM-62 Snark, Convair SM-65 Atlas, Boeing CIM-10 Bomarc, Martin HGM/LGM-25 Titan, Chrysler PGM-19 Jupiter, Douglas AIR-2 Genie, Hughes AIM-4 Falcon, Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder, and several other air-to-air, air-to-ground, ground-to-air, and ground-to-ground missiles are mentioned and/or shown in use. Thanks to the US National Archives for uploading this HD time capsule video to YouTube.