Также читал, что большую часть Холодной Войны ВС США находились на уровне боеготовности DEFCON 4, а он предусматривает постоянное дежурство около 30% бомбардировщиков в готовности к взлёту через несколько минут, сняты с постоянного дежурства бомбардировщики были только в октябре 1991 года. При этом до ядерного удара успели поднять в воздух воздушный КП Looking Glass американских ВВС и "самолёт судного дня" E-4, который затем подобрал преемник президента на борт.
Цитаты из самой книги, намекающие, что лётчики находятся на службе целую неделю:
It was 7:15 a.m., Spokane time, Moreau being the usual forty five minutes early for the beginning of a week of round the clock duty at the Alert Facility.
She walked the last mile, luxuriating in the deep cold breaths she would miss for a week during the confinement of alert duty. Then she approached the barbed wire, the Cyclone fencing, the super sensors and the hidden SWAT teams that surrounded the half buried home in which she would spend the next seven days and nights. At the first door, where galvanized steel webbing interlaced with scythe hooked barbed wire, a sign read: “Deadly Force Authorized.” Inside the door, she was trapped momentarily. The steel wire and webbing closed behind her, leaving her in a pen in which the second door would not open until she had been scrutinized further, cameras probing, sensors sensing, slit eyes peering through the guardhouse beyond her reach.
Off to her left, six jungle camouflaged B 52’s stood in an alert line, ice mist wisping off their long, drooping wings. These were armed, their bombs and warheads measured in both kilotons and megatons. White tipped SRAM missiles protruded from the wings of two planes, including hers. Gravity bombs were tucked into the bomb bays. The four others had cruise missiles hidden in the bays. The planes were ready to go at a moment’s notice. But they didn’t fly. If SAC called for practice alerts, and Moreau could expect at least two during the week, she would race from the bunker, clamber up the hatch in her B 52’s belly, scramble into the right hand seat in the cockpit, help start the engines, check the codes, and turn off the engines. Such was life in the intensified cold war of the eighties. At one time, until the first stage of the cold war began to taper off in the late sixties and seventies, the B 52’s had been kept armed and flying at all times. But fuel was too expensive now, and the planes too old, to keep the B 52’s on airborne alert. So, two weeks out of three, the crews flew their practice missions unarmed. Then they came here for seven awful days, the sitting and waiting interrupted only by the howling klaxons signaling a practice footrace to armed bombers ready for the real thing that never came. Moreau walked up the ramp into the blockhouse–the ramp being inclined upward so the race out would be downward–and in to her day’s work.
SAC showed some understanding of the pressures on a twenty six year old father. It was prison, without conjugal privileges, but it wasn’t like the submariners, who stayed at sea for months now in the new Tridents. This was one week out of three. SAC had built the little alert annex where families could visit briefly. They had placed the jungle gym and swings out back for the kids. And the boy came almost every day, a little wide eyed kid who made his father swell with pride. The boy’s bulging eyes riveted on the flying suit with its demigod symbols, the child face painted with both awe and fear the way he watched the Ajax man swoop into a television kitchen, uncertain if the image was there to save or destroy his three year old world.