RICHMOND, VA –
On May 19, 2016, an Air Force B-52 Bomber, with seven crew members onboard, crashed at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific close to 4,000 miles west of Hawaii.
All survived the fiery crash that reduced the Air Force’s B-52 fleet to 75, one less than the congressionally mandated 76. To make up for this shortfall, the Air Force authorized the regeneration of a B-52 that had been taken out of service. Here’s where “Wise Guy,” tail number 60-034, came in. The mighty bomber had been sitting idle for a decade at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group facility, known as the “Boneyard” on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
According to its website, the 309th AMARG provides critical aerospace maintenance and regeneration capabilities for joint and allied/coalition warfighters in support of global operations and agile combat support for a wide range of military operations. The facility is home to more than 4,400 aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles from the Air Force, Navy-Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard, and several federal agencies including NASA.
Alonzo Miller is the B-52 weapon systems program manager for Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Customer Operations Directorate’s Nuclear Enterprise Customer Facing Division.
Miller said the Air Force asked DLA Aviation, to support the regeneration of Wise Guy. He said once this happened, DLA Aviation regeneration support analysis in Richmond, Virginia and at Oklahoma City on Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, allowed early targeted actions for more than 67,500 B-52 DLA-managed items.
John Lyles is the customer support manager for the B-1, B-52, E-3 weapon systems within DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City’s Planning and Support Division.
He said once the Air Force contacted DLA in the Aug./Sept. 2018 time frame, they began meeting with Air Force officials at Tinker, in person and virtually, to identify all material potentially needed to bring this aircraft back to full supportability.
Once a solid list of materials was in place and signed off by the Air Force chief engineer at Tinker, which for this request included parts such as nuts, bolts, washers, circuit breakers and wiring harnesses, they met with DLA Aviation sustainment and customer support specialists to set the supportability machine in motion for when the aircraft arrived at Tinker.
Lyles said DLA sent modification kits to Davis-Monthan and Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to support the aircraft’s departure from AMARG and arrival at Barksdale for phase two of the regeneration.
Miller said the initial regeneration process began at AMARG in Dec. 2018 with the plane prepped to make the roughly 1,000-mile flight to Barksdale for further repairs before flying on to Tinker Air Force Base in March 2020 for programmed depot maintenance at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. PDM was completed and the aircraft fully operational at the end of Dec. 2020, two months ahead of schedule.
“This was truly a team effort on the part of all Defense Department stakeholders,” said Lyles.
Wise Guy, only the second B-52 brought out of mothballs, arrived at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota ready to support the warfighter March. 9. It’s assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing.