SAC Elite Guard History





The Real History of the Air Force Blue Beret


April, 2005



By Col (Ret) Ray Balcer



 Raymond L. Balcer, Col, USAF (ret)

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. 

            When Colonel Balcer retired, he was the recipient of the Bronze Start, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit w/ oak leaf cluster.

 Submitted by John Achelpohl


A Perspective by Major Herbert Meyer

circa 1957 - 1964


A Perspective by Col. Robert Swing (Ret)



A Perspective by Luther Meilahn, Published in the SAC Magazine, Klaxon


Facsimile of a history produced by the 3906th Special Security Squadron



SAC Elite Guard

 "recruiting tape" circa mid 1980's, probably accompanied by a slideshow.
   Run time for this tape is about  9 minutes 

Click Here for Audio

(Does anyone know the whereabouts of the slides?)

added 16 May 09

SAC Elite Guard

 "recruiting tape" circa late 1970's, probably accompanied by a slideshow.
   Run time for this tape is about  9 minutes

Click Here for Audio

(Does anyone know the whereabouts of the slides?)

To download audio files to your computer, right click the "click Here for Audio" and select 'save Target As' then select your desk top or folder.
When opening the file you may receive a warning, click to play, the file is ok.

added 16 May 09

SAC Elite Guard

Formal Guardmount Ceremony (1967).  Run time for this tape is about  9 minutes

Click Here for Audio


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 AFB;

Detachment A of the 3902nd Air Police Squadron formed December 1956;

The Squadron was re-designated 3902nd Combat Defense Squadron on 1 Jul 1960;

Detachment A  was renamed the "SAC Elite Guard" in May 1961;

The Squadron was re-designated 3902nd Security Police Squadron on 2 Jul 1967;

The SAC Elite Guard separated from 3902nd Security Police Squadron and formed the newly activated 3906th Security Police Squadron, 1 Mar 1980;

The Squadron was re-designated 3906th Special Security Squadron on 1 Apr 1980;

3902nd Security Police Squadron inactivated on 1 Mar 1986;

3906th Special Security Squadron deactivated on 1 Jun 1992, with the stand down of the Strategic Air Command;

The SAC Elite Guard renamed to STRATCOM Elite Guard, assigned to the 55th Air Base Wing,
55th Security Forces Squadron, with the activation of USSTRATCOM, 1 Jun 1992.

 (Sources - U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Strategic Air Command and Squadron Records)

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

Lt_Raymond_Balcer    MSgt Robert Corbin   

Elite Guard Uniforms


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.



Early 50s uniform    Original guard winter uniform    Original guard kahki uniform without tie    Guard kahki uniform with tie    Drill team kahki uniform with scarf    Gabardine (silver tan) uniform    Orginal shade 84 uniform with blue shirt    Tropical worsted shade 84 uniform    Short sleeved blue shirt    Test Light blue shirt with plain blue scarf    Test Light blue shirt with stars on scar    Test Light blue shirt with crest on scarf, blue aigulette    US collar brass    No collar brass    SAC crest collar brass    Double braid pistol lanyard with clip    Single braid aigulette with 2 single loops    Double braid aigulette with 2 single loops    Double braid double loop aigulette   

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 



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