The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker first used in June 1957 was developed to refuel jet aircraft like the B-52s. The KC-135 replaced the KC-97s seen in the film. The B-52s had to fly dangerously slow in order to be refueled by the KC-97s. The KC-135s could refuel the B-52s at a safer speed and higher altitude.
During shooting, Natalie Wood was named "Miss Stratosphere of 1957" by the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command and "Sweetheart of Castle Air Force Base", the Merced County (CA) base where this film was shot.
A July 20, 2015, newspaper article was about two B-52s--at the time 58 years old--flying as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre, a 44-hour, non-stop, show-of-force, round-trip simulated bombing mission from Barksdale AFB in Louisiana to the NT Outback Australia. The purpose of the mission was to assure allies and deter foes.
This movie's dedication shown at the end of the film states: "With grateful appreciation for the cooperation of the United States Air Force we proudly dedicate this picture to the crew chiefs and ground personnel - - the indispensable men who contribute so much to our airpower."