The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group started deconstruction on the final B-52G Stratofortress, Dec. 19.
This Aircraft saw service in seven bomb wings within the U.S. Air Force, flew numerous missions in Vietnam during Operation Linebacker II and is the 39th B-52G to be eliminated in compliance with the with the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The 53-year-old aircraft was designed to reduce the overall aircraft weight in an effort to improve performance of the previous B-52’s F model.
“Employees from the 577th Commodities and Reclamation Squadron will finish this elimination by using a saw, similar to a firefighter’s rescue saw, to cut along the predetermined circumference cut line to sever the aircraft’s tail section from the fuselage,” explained Col. Robert Lepper, 309th AMARG commander. “You will hear a distinct ‘clunk’ as the fuselage breaks into two, signaling the cut is complete and the aircraft ‘eliminated’.”
Although the G models have been retired to the 309th AMARG since 1990, they still were counted as a deployed strategic delivery vehicle, until the tails were separated from the aircraft.
While in service, beginning in the late 1950s, the G models have had several different missions. While in Vietnam the bomber was used to carry conventional bombs and during the Cold War it was used to carry nuclear bombs. The elimination of the G models has been essential in the Air Force’s plan to meet the treaty limits.
“Behind all the statistics, were the dedicated troops and the aircrew that flew this air plane,” said guest speaker, retired Gen. Earl T. O’Loughlin, former commander of Air Force Logistics Center, now Air Force Materiel Command. “This plane came into the inventory at a very strategic time … it gave us a capability of long range strike and gave us the true support that we needed for this country.
“My career for 24 years was directly or indirectly involved with the B-52. This is a bitter sweet moment in my life to be able to come out here and watch you cut the tail off of it,” O’Loughlin continued. “It was a good ship and it flew well.”