B-52 Bomber Milestones

h/t to Doctrine Man!!:

B-52 Bomber Marks Major Milestones in 2012

They’ve been part of the landscape of Northwest Louisiana since the late 1950s, and this year the big B-52s at Barksdale Air Force base will mark a number of milestones. It was 60 years ago Sunday that the prototype YB-52 first took to the air, thrilling employees of the Air Force and Boeing and civilians in Seattle, who witnessed the event.

It was 50 years ago this summer and fall that the last of the 744 B-52s built, an H-model that is still flying out of Minot Air Force Base, N.D., rolled off the assembly line and was accepted into the fleet.

October also marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when all of the old Strategic Air Command’s bombers, including Barksdale’s B-52s, were put on 100 percent alert status for a full month.

And it was 40 years ago this December that the airplanes faced and met their greatest challenge ever, in the epic Linebacker II bombing campaign over the skies of Hanoi, then the most heavily defended airspace in the world.

When aviation buffs make up their lists of classic military aircraft, the B-52 is always there.  No greater measure of its longevity than to talk about crew members who were not born when the plane first flew… and we’ve been saying that about the B-52 going on twenty-five years.