BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, Louisiana —
The sight of a B-52 Stratofortress rolling down the runway is a common sight here at Barksdale Air Force Base. However, seeing a B-1B Lancer aircraft rolling down Range Road going toward the east side of the base is a once-in-a-lifetime thing to see.
A recently decommissioned B-1B Lancer departed the flightline on Feb. 19 for the last time as it made its way to its new home at the Barksdale Global Power Museum.
Master Sgt. Brandon Gambrel, 2nd Bomb Wing BGPM maintenance NCOIC, had the role of leading the maintenance team working on the B-1 transportation to the museum and explained the significance of the B-1’s addition to the static displays.
“Our base being the focal point for bombers makes the addition of the B-1B Lancer to the museum even more of a special moment for the base and the surrounding community,” said Gambrel. “We feel this new addition will drive more people to come visit us and it coinciding with the 8th Air Force’s 80th anniversary, only adds to its significance and we could not think of a better time for the addition.”
The move of the B-1B Lancer from the flightline to the museum required efforts and cooperation from many units from across the base as well as coordination and assistance from two other bases.
“The 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs, 2nd Contracting Squadron, 2nd Maintenance Squadron, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 2nd Security Forces Squadron, 2nd Munitions Squadron, 76th Maintenance Wing, and the 317th Maintenance Group are all the units who were involved and made this move a smooth one and it took continuous effort from everyone to make it happen,” said James Cupp, 2nd CES operations flight deputy chief. “Everyone did such a great job with this course of action that our initial plan was all that was needed.”
One of the many bases involved in this move was Dyess AFB. Their efforts made the transport of the aircraft possible starting with the decommissioning process.
“The 317th Maintenance Group out of Dyess AFB began the process by decommissioning the B-1B Lancer back in June of 2021,” said Gambrel. “That process included the disassembly and dismantling of the aircraft and recycling of any aircraft materials that could be salvaged. The entire process took about eight months from decommissioning to display which is pretty fast. This process shows just how great the coordination throughout the Air Force can be and how units across the U.S. can work together and complete a mission in a timely manner, with minimal hitches.”
After the arrival of the aircraft to Barksdale, the B-1B Lancer still had to be transferred from the flightline to the museum air park, but in order for that to happen the wings had to be rotated to prevent potential damage to the wings and surrounding buildings.
“There is no clear path from the flightline to the streets of the base, therefore a completely new plan had to be created in order for the move to happen,” said Cupp. “From the gate being cut down and 200,000 pounds of matting being applied from the gate to the aircraft’s final resting place by the 2nd CES; to the contracted local power company coming out to take down the power lines for a few hours; to the 5000-pound weights that were ordered to prevent the aircraft from flipping over during transport. Everything was completely new to all of us out there and as big of a task as it was, all the units made this difficult mission look easy.”
A team of maintainers from the 76th Maintenance Wing flew from Tinker AFB, Oklahoma to help rotate the wings to a position that would make the aircraft easier to move and less destructive of the things around them.
“I would like to give a special thanks to the maintenance team at Tinker for helping with the engine, antenna removal, wing rotation, and overall making everyone’s job easier during the transfer,” said Maj. Michael Shane, 2nd CES operations flight commander. “I am glad they had a chance to be a part of history and working with them was truly a pleasure. We needed them to make this move happen”
Now that the B-1 is in place at the museum, the bomber will be repainted before its unveiling ceremony.
“We want to have an unveiling so people can see all the hard work that went into getting the aircraft here and so they can have a chance to be proud of what has been done,” said Gambrel. “We are not sure when or if we will get another aircraft to our museum so this is a historical feat that we want to show the world.”
The aircraft is now on display after years of service providing long-range precision strike…anytime, anywhere!