Scavenged Parts Put Bone in Air Again

Airmen—blue suit and civilian—have taken some extraordinary steps to get a damaged B-1B bomber in condition to fly from Andersen AFB, Guam, where it has remained for about two years since it suffered a brake failure and subsequent extensive fire damage, to Tinker AFB, Okla., where Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center technicians will fully restore it to operational service. First, the workers had to remove parts, including a right wing, from B-1s at the Boneyard at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center in Arizona, getting them ready for transport to California, where they transferred the parts to a ship for the two-month journey to Guam. Once at Guam, the workers carefully choreographed movement of the wide load to avoid traffic and power lines and other encumbrances. Meanwhile, USAF had to airlift needed tools from another Bone repair job in Diego Garcia. Once the replacement wing was at Andersen, airmen from the 554th RED HORSE moved it into position via a large crane. And, MSgt. John Stemple reports this was the first occasion in which USAF has replaced the wing on a B-1B in field conditions. The ALC expects to have the bomber repairs completed at Tinker by summer 2008.