If US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft were US citizens, they would be eligible to draw Social Security. While focused materiel investments have kept the venerable aircraft force mission ready for decades, training also remains a foundation of the B-52 program.       

One testament to the B-52 training enterprise was recently noted when a B-52H crew earned the Air Force Global Strike Command General Curtis E. LeMay award for the outstanding bomber crew category during the 2023 AFGSC Operations Awards.

In December 2022, the Scout 94 crew faced a life-threatening situation while flying a B-52 from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The three aircrew members on board were Capt. Charles Powell, 11th Bomb Squadron aircraft commander, now the Director of Staff, Lt. Col. John Conway, 11th Bomb Squadron radar navigator, now Air Combat Command Training Support Squadron Detachment 13 commander, and Capt. Matthew Walls, 343 Bomb Squadron copilot, now unit deployment manager.

A service press release further noted, in part, “While avoiding severe thunderstorms and descending in altitude in preparation to land, two of the aircraft’s electrical generators tripped off. According to Powell, the aircraft suddenly went into an uncontrolled left roll, descending rapidly and decelerating below normal approach speed.”

Conway said during the awards recognition process, “Capt. Powell and Capt. Walls both performed admirably and with immense poise that day,” and added, “They were quick to respond to the situation, run the appropriate procedures, and fall back on their training.”

B-52 training was again in the MS&T spotlight last month when we noted an innovative effort by the US Air Force and led by Lt. Col. Michael DeVita of the 11th Bomb Squadron, to bridge the gap between simulator training and real-world experiences for student pilots assigned to the aircraft’s Formal Training Unit.

MS&T looks forward to gaining and commenting on developments across the B-52 training program.  

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