I was able to grab some USAF "Silk Purse" patches while stationed over in the UK. I had no idea what "Silk Purse" was at the time (1994). It looks like the program ceased to exist in 1992 or so with the mission eventually going to the US Navy TACAMO E-6's. Here is an exerpt from elsewhere (http://www.freqofnat...com/nigel13.txt) that details what Silk Purse was:
Interesting. Anyways, the Silk Purse aircraft had crew members from all of the armed forces, thus the different patches. I'm missing the US Army one, unfortunately. The 10th ACCS flew the aircraft.
"Silk Purse" Control Group was a JCS operation assigned to EURCOM (USAFE's 7120th ACCS Later: 10th ACCS at Chatteroux AS France [with EC-54's & C-118's] and converted to EC-135H upon reassignment to RAF Mildenhall under FRELOC in 1965), and was mirrored by PACCOM's "Blue Eagle" Control Group (PACAF's 6486th ACCS) that was based a Hickam. These are Theater Commands and yes they were tasked along the lines of the Strategic Air Command "Cover ALL" System (commonly referred to as "Looking Glass") "Silk Purse, Blue Eagle & Scope Light Control Groups" (described below) had theater control of nuclear weapons for their "CinC's" but that control did not extend to "SAC Assets" and with the Langley based "Scope Light Control Group" assigned to Cinc-Lant operated by TAC' 4500th Air Base Wing and later 1st TFW's 6th ACCS along with the 4 Navy TACAMO squadrons primary mission as communications to the SSBM forces (FBM's) via Long Wire ARC-96 VLF Radio. We also had VLF on the Looking Glass aircraft. 1001st (Later: 1st ) ACCS (1001st Air Base Wing) was the JCS Airborne Command Post operation based at Andrews with EC-135J' s until 1975 when the E-4 apperared on the scene J's went to replace the EC-135P' s models at Hickam and the P's went to setup the 6th ACCS at Langley under CinC-LANT. These Operations unlike the SAC Looking Glass operations the Battle Staff's are Joint Services. Glass, however was a strickly SAC operation until we lost the 1st Aerospace Comm Group & the 30th Comm Sq (Command) to AFCS. The "Glass" was the only ABNCP required to maintain 24 Hour around the clock airborne operation. Every 8 hours maintenance had a Primary aircraft (Cocked, Codes Loaded in the Safe), Spare Aircraft (Cocking and would become primary 8 hours later), and if possible Spare-Spare preflighted and ready. Prior to 1970 (April 1) the Glass was assigned to the 38th STRATEGIC RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRON (Aug 66 - 31 Mar 70) and the 34th Air Refueling Squadron (1961 - Aug 1966), with backup aircraft at Barksdale (2nd AF HQ) 913th AREFS, March (15th AF HQ) 22nd AREFS, Westover (8th AF HQ) 99th AREFS, the Radio Relay & Missile "ALCS" support of the 906th AREFS at Minot, and 301st AREFS at Lockbourne. After reorganization of the PACCS oerations in 1970, the Numbered Air Force HQ lost the PACCS Missions the 1st ACCS (Nightwatch) organizanded 1969 at Andrews and that operation relocated with the E-4 to the 55th SRW at Offutt in 1975, unlike the Glass Operation Nightwatch's Battle Staff was JCS assignment. 2nd ACCS formed at Offutt, 3rd ACCS at Grissiom (This short lived unit, That deactivated in 1973 however the EC mission Radio Relay mission remained ith the 70th AREFS), the 4th ACCS at Ellsworth and all SAC Battle Staff's were assigned to the respective Airborne Command & Control Squadrons, Lockbourne & Minot lost the assigned PACCS mission but Minot still provided fwd support for the ALCS aircraft sitting ALERT at Minot - TDY from Ellsworth. As far as I know there were never a 5th ACCS organized, 6th ACCS at Langley organized when Hickam released the P's, they burned up P model and it was replaced with a H from Mildenhall. Scope Light 's battle staff was a JCS assignment., 7th ACCS was the EC-130 Tactical Airborne Command Post out of Udorn, Thailand, I believe MACV provided the Battle Staff, 8th Tactical Deployment Control Squadron assumed the old 19th AF's deployment control mission based at Langley and Seymour - Johnson later became the 8th ACCS and assigned to Tinker's 552nd AWCW (TAC Battle Staff). 9th ACCS was based at Hickam with the P's then the J's, again a JCS Battle Staff. 10th ACCS was based at Mildenhall with the H's,again a JCS Battle Staff in 1968 or 69 while they were the 7120th England a week of very hot temperatures. Mildenhall's runway buckled slightly and the Purse spent a week on our ramp at Upper Heyford (Det 1, 98th SW) We gave them some support however access to backshops was not due to the classified KC-135R/RC-135C/D missions. In 1982 3rd ACCS reincarnated as a Space comm unit attached to the 552nd, I was back in the 55th at that time and transfered C-135E 60-376 to them, The crew was telling me (I had the transfer documents the crew had to sign for the airplane) how they were a brand new squadron and this was their 1st Airplane, I'm smiling having flown a mission or two at Grissom. Finally the Bastard operation, Combat Lightning, This was a package of 7 modified KC-135A's that flew a radio relay orbit in the Gulf of Tonkin during Viet Nam, we had no Command Post suite, we did carry the standard Glass Communications Suite X 4 without the ARC 96 Long Wire and I don't remember if we had provisions for the wire or not.
Edited by TLHorstead, 18 July 2008 - 11:11 PM.