Col. Paul Tibbets IV, grandson of the late retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets and Air Force Global Strike Command’s deputy director of operations, qualified to fly the B-52H, making him one of a select few pilots trained to fly all three of the Air Force’s bomber types. He flew the B-1B and B-2A during previous assignments, according to a service release. “This is not an accomplishment many achieve,” said Lt. Col. James Morriss, commander of Air Force Reserve Command’s 93rd Bomb Squadron. Tibbets earned the certification on Nov. 21 at Barksdale AFB, La., in a B-52 painted with Red Gremlin II nose art as a tribute to his grandfather. The latter Tibbets, best known for piloting the B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan in August 1945, also flew the B-17 Red Gremlin against Nazi-occupied Europe. “My grandfather had a passion for aviation and most specifically, bombers,” said Colonel Tibbets. “I am honored to play a small part in keeping his legacy alive,” he said. (Barksdale report by MSgt. Greg Steele)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.