Back From the Dead

For only the second time in U.S. Air Force history, the service has brought a B-52H Stratofortress bomber out of storage Boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and delivered it to an operational unit. The aircraft, with the serial number 60-0034 and nicknamed Wise Guy, touched down at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana earlier today, where it will join the 307th Bomb Wing, the only bomb wing in the Air Force Reserve. Wise Guy’s return comes almost three years to the day after another one of the bombers crashed and burned at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and brings the size of the Air Force’s operational B-52H fleet back to a total of 76 aircraft, the maximum allowable number under the terms of an arms control treaty with Russia.

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17 Responses to Back From the Dead

  1. Bad_Brad says:

    I machine one hell of a lot of B 52 parts. It doesn’t look like they’re going away anytime soon.

  2. bob sykes says:

    There are about 700 B52s there, with broken wing roots, but complete with (obsolete) engines and (obsolete) electronics. There are enough parts to keep B52s flying for decades more.

  3. Steve S. says:

    The Chair Force plans to continue flying the BUFF probably into the 2040s, mostly because we just don’t have anything else that can do what they do.

    • Gater, MSgt, USAF (Retired), OKC says:


      If I were you, I’d hold off on the “Chair Force” comment. I saw an interesting statistic on the History Channel the other day.

      “During WWII, the 8th Air Force, which bombed Germany from England, lost 23,000 crewman during the bombing campaign. This number was greater than ALL the U.S. Marines killed during the war.”

      These were a result of shootdowns by German flak guns and fighters. Typically, there were ten crewmen per plane.

      • Wirecutter says:

        I don’t remember which city they were bombing, but they lost 60 bombers in one raid – 600 men lost or missing in a matter of hours.

        • Gater, OKC says:

          The Polesti oil fields.

        • Gater, OKC says:

          Oops! Spelling: Ploesti

          • Al in Georgia says:

            That was the Schweinfurt raid on the ball bearing factory in October 1943.

            Known as Black Thursday. The Polesti raid was in August 1943 and around 50, B-24 bombers were shot down.

            Both raids were rough with as many planes damaged as shot down

            • Wirecutter says:

              Schweinfurt – you’re right.

              • Johno says:

                Lot of warbirds lost on both sides during the Schweinfurt – Regensburg raids. On the worst trip, the USAAF gunners supposedly claimed 285 ‘bandits’ shot down, but postwar the real total of German fighters lost that day was shown as 25 aeroplanes. I don’t comment critically, if 10 blokes in a formation are all shooting at the same fighter concurrently, that is claimed when it is destroyed, surely it is human to truly believe that you were the one who nailed it?
                I always wondered how many WWII flex-mount or turret-gunners accidentally stitched .50 calibre holes in friendly aircraft, bombers or defending fighters, possibly causing it’s loss.

    • warhorse says:

      and at this rate, they never will. there is no incentive to build a non-stealth bomb dump truck.

      instead we get billion-dollar stealth bombers dropping $5000 laser-guided bombs on a unoccupied mud hut in the middle of an open field in armpitistan.

  4. Bob Gallagher says:

    I drive by the boneyard every day, if you plan on being in Tucson, they offer tours, Drop me a line and it is my treats…

  5. nonncom says:

    I remember when I was a lad watching these guys flying out of McCoy AFB in Orlando, along with the flights of the U-2 over Cuba… was a different time, and the House and Senate were actually on the same side on most issues….then we were all either center right or center left with not that much difference in between….that was in ’62…..the later 60’s and years following changed all of that….

  6. C.R. says:

    ok , a few questions on naming aircraft , when a plane gets a nickname , who chooses the name ? the pilot ? the crew ? does the name stay the same through out the life of the plane ? I’ve heard it is supposed to be bad luck to change the name of a boat, is it the same superstition with aircraft ? thanks for any input !

  7. TomR, armed in Texas says:

    Bush 41 signed a deal with Russia that limited our B52 force to 76. Bush had most of the other B52s in the boneyard cut up so they could not be flown again. Bush 43 was just about as dumb as 41. If you believe I think little of the Bushes you are right. obama was the worst prez in history but the Bushes are well up there in the top 10.

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