Skip to comments.B-52 celebrates 60 Years
Posted on 04/11/2012 8:58:30 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
B-52 celebrates 60 Years
by Staff Sgt. Brian Stives and Megan Meyer
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
4/10/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Air Force Global Strike Command will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the B-52 Stratofortress on April 15, 1952. This flight was made by the YB-52 prototype in Seattle.
Air Force Global Strike Command will commemorate the airframe's anniversary with events centered around the theme: "The B-52: An Icon of American Airpower."
During the celebratory campaign, AFGSC will recognize the heritage and accomplishments of the B-52 and the people - both past and present - responsible for the development, acquisition, operation, maintenance and security of the weapon system.
The B-52's long and rich heritage is illustrated by stories of families who have up to three generations of Airmen who worked on the B-52, such as 1st Lt. Daniel Welch, a B-52 co-pilot at Minot. Welch is a third-generation crew member on the airframe.
According to Welch, his grandfather flew every B-52 model and commanded Welch's current squadron at Minot, the 23rd Bomb Squadron. Welch's father was also a B-52 crew member during his time in the Air Force.
Through the course of the year, the Command will highlight the history of deterrence and combat capabilities the B-52 has provided through its distinguished career, in conflicts from Vietnam to Operation Enduring Freedom.
Some accomplishments to be highlighted throughout the year include:
April 15, 1952 - The first flight of the YB-52 Stratofortress will be commemorated with a long-duration flight from AFGSC Headquarters at Barksdale.
May 10 through Oct. 23, 1972 - Operation Linebacker - Linebacker was the first continuous bombing effort conducted against North Vietnam since the bombing halt instituted by President Lyndon B. Johnson in November 1968.
June 18, 1965 - Operation Arc Light - The first use of the B-52D Stratofortress as a conventional bomber from bases in the U.S. to Guam to support ground combat operations in Vietnam.
Aug. 2, 1994 - B-52's first round-the-world bombing mission.
Oct. 26, 1962 - Strategic Air Command received the last B-52 from production line
Dec. 18 through 29, 1972 - Operation Linebacker II - This operation saw the largest heavy bomber strikes launched by the U.S. Air Force since the end of World War II.
The B.U.F.F is my lifetime favorite. Just a big heap of awesomeness.
A fading symbol of the land of my birth.
Back in the mid 60s, I worked at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. One of our jobs was located next to the runway fence. To see those 52s doing touch and goes was awe inspiring. The power as they accelerated (at a seemingly impossible angle) was chill producing.
Thanks - I didn’t know any of that.
The B-52 was built during the era of the Cold War fighting the Red Menace. As a result, over 700 of them were built.
Subsequent aircraft such as the B-1B and the B-2A were built to replace the B-52 in the most critical roles of nuclear deterrent, but they were very expensive.
With so many B-52s in inventory, they can be used very cheaply where payload is more important than deep penetration over hostile territory.
I believe we're down to under 100 active B-52s, so they all will eventually wear out, but no need to replace them all if they're still flyable and can perform a certain mission at a lower cost than buying a new aircraft.
War gives urgency to things. The story of the B-29 is instructive. It went to drawing board to operational in about five years. A light year ahead of the B-17. Much the same for the P.51. The Germans leap=frogged all this with the jet. Thank God that Hitler rushed the invasion of the Soviet Union. With two more years to build up and improve his arsenal, I am pretty sure that Goering would have had had operational jets in the skies. We would have still be fighting that war in 1950.
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