SAC Elite Guard History
The Real History of the Air Force Blue Beret
HQ SAC ELITE GUARD
IN THE BEGINNING
By Col (Ret) Ray Balcer
May 17, 1930 – October 4, 2008
Ray Balcer, the first designated Officer in Charge of Detachment A, 3902nd APS (soon to be known as the SAC Elite Guard) was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma the son of Leo and Emma Von Elm Balcer.
Ray Balcer was Honors Graduate from the ROTC program at Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) In recognition of his achievement, Ray was granted a regular commission in the Air Force, rather than the normal reserve commission.
Upon his assignment to Offutt AFB, Ray Balcer joined the staff of Major Herbert L Meyer, Deputy Commander for Security/Law Enforcement for the 3902nd Air Base Wing. It was at this time that General Curtis LeMay restated his desires for an elite guard force for the Headquarters and when the SAC Provost Marshal of that day did not move fast enough in this area, he was replaced.
The project was then given to Lt/Col. Charles Conway and Lt/Col (then Major) Jim Black of the Headquarters Provost Marshal staff. This team of officers, in conjunction with Captain Ray Balcer and Major Meyer , came up with the uniform and accouterments currently worn by the SAC guard and drill team except for the shade 193 shirt and trousers and blue wool shirt which were procured some time later. The special items of equipment were procured from appropriated. funds via certain nefarious negotiations in coordination with Headquarters SAC materiel people. Captain James McGee (then Lt) of the Headquarters Provost Marshal staff and Captain Ray Balcer of my staff then worked up the changing of the guard ceremony. Field maintenance shops on Offutt fabricated the shield used in this ceremony. Several months after activation of the new SAC Headquarters by late spring of 1957 the unit was operational with an elite guard and drill team. At that time, Lt Ray Balcer was formally designated as OIC.
The Elite Guard was truly a unique organization within the USAF. Its establishment was precedent setting; particularly noteworthy was a charter that:
1. Authorized command wide recruitment for its membership.
2. Created a unique uniform – “one of a kind” which has never been replicated.
3. Authorized the blue beret as its headgear. This became the prototype for the headgear now used by all security forces Air Force wide.
4. First to transition to the 38 caliber revolver as its side arm from the traditional 45 caliber automatic pistol.
5. Became a prototype for innovative security measures introduced by SAC to counter espionage and sabotage threats.
Ray Balcer left the Air Police Career field during the 1960’s finishing his career in the field of Manpower Resources.
Colonel Balcer retired, he was the recipient of the Bronze Start,
the Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit w/ oak leaf
by John Achelpohl
A Perspective by Major Herbert Meyer
circa 1957 - 1964
A Perspective by Col. Robert Swing (Ret)
(Does anyone know the whereabouts of the slides?)
added 16 May 09
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added 16 May 09
Units of the Sac Elite Guard
The 3902nd Air
Police Squadron was designated on 1 Sep 1948
and organized on 1 Oct 1948 at Offutt
Appointment of the first Officer in Charge of Detachment 'A' Flight and Drill Team
The first OIC and NCOIC of Detachment 'A', later, the Elite Guard
From SAC History and personal files of General Wilbur Creech. Pages without pertinent data were omitted. Uniform photos that followed the descriptive pages below were omitted because of poor picture quality. Samples of uniform items described can be found below or in galleries on site.
Original SAC Shield and the 3902nd Air Base Wing Patch
Original 3902 Combat Defense Squadron Patch
Proposed 3906 Special Security Squadron Patch
Recruiting and Job Requirements
Press Background and Release Forms