Wednesday, March 20, 2013

20 March 2013 Send in the BUFFs

(CNN) -- The U.S. Air Force is breaking out some of its heaviest hardware to send a message to North Korea.
A Pentagon spokesman said Monday that B-52 bombers are making flights over South Korea as part of military exercises this month.

“As for the B-52s, they have been in the U.S. arsenal since 1955. Once part of the country's nuclear triad planes, missiles and submarines, the B-52 is now used predominantly as a conventional bomber and as a platform for air-launched cruise missiles. The Air Force said B-52s dropped 40% of all the munitions used by coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s.”
          It is amazing how many of these ancient planes are still flying and are mission capable.  Often the aircraft are older than the combined ages of the AC and Co-pilot.  The aircraft were designed for high altitude bombing.  The development of SAM’s put paid to that plan.  The mission then became low-level high-speed penetration.  The development of terrain-following radar control made this somewhat safer and somewhat more likely to be successful.
          Some of my neighbors in AR were killed in TFR failures.  I encountered a BUFF following I=70 in Eastern Colorado.  I topped a hill heading eastbound and was face-to-face with the plane traveling west.  I could see the faces of the pilot and co-pilot in the brief instant when the plane was still visible.  It passed just above me.  The noise of its 8 engines was disorienting in its volume. Then I found myself in the westbound lanes heading west.  Quite the trip!
          I can recall sitting in an aircraft on Guam when an Arc Light mission was taking off.  We were required to close the window shades so that we couldn’t see the BUFFs take off.  Of course, there was nothing else on Quam that sounded that loud and that big.  I doubt anyone on that flight was going to relay take-off times to the NVA. 
          Today’s hike with Mike was unusual.  We noticed a lot of cars at a neighbor’s house and several people picking up what is normally a trashy yard.  We both made reference to “Jud Fry is Dead” from “Oklahoma.”  As we passed the house, the owner walked out to tell us that one of his sons had committed suicide yesterday.  We’ve been here over 6 years now and I would not recognize his son if I saw him.  Still, the loss of a family member by suicide is always tragic.  We’ll send a sympathy card.  There’s little else we can do beyond extending condolences. 

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