Stratofortress ... It's A Beast
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael S. Murphy
Capt. Jacob Stawski, now 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron
electronic warfare officer, said he would never forget his first
His mind was brewing over what to expect. He was
flying over Dallas on his way back to Louisiana, adjusting channels
of volume to regulate at his station aboard the B-52 Stratofortress,
to amend the deafening roar of the aircraft’s eight engines.
A 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-52 Stratofortress departs the flightline on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
October 22, 2019. B-52s have held a vital role in supporting the Continuous Bomber Presence mission in the Indo-Pacific region, which has been in operation since March 2004. Service members supporting the CBP sustains a flying mission that provides a capability of readiness and commitment to deterrence, provides assurances to our allies, and strengthens regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michael S. Murphy)
“I sit backwards from the pilot and copilot,” Stawski said. “All of
a sudden I see this huge flash, and it’s super loud,” Stawski said.
“I hear a BOOM, and my feet rattled. The pilot comes over the radio,
saying we’ve been struck by lightning.”
Stawski said the
aircraft was still good to fly, and the aircrew continued their
course and landed. They found that the B-52 had caught fire upon
landing and that a six-foot hole was in the tail of the aircraft.
Emergency personnel responded and extinguished the threat of fire.
The B-52 was ultimately repaired and returned to flight.
Thankfully, Stawski was in one of the oldest and most reliable
aircraft in the U.S. Air Force fleet.
The B-52’s on Andersen
Air Force Base come from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and are
fulfilling a six-month deployment on Andersen to complete the
Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) mission.
“The biggest thing
is providing assurance to our allies through our presence within the
INDOPACOM area of responsibility,” He said. “If you take a look at
CBP, that’s the root of what we are doing. We are providing
assurance that we are here. We are looking out.”
maintained a rotational strategic bomber presence on base since
March 2004. These aircraft, and the men and women who fly and
support them, provide a significant capability that enables our
readiness and commitment to deterrence, provides assurances to our
allies and strengthens regional security and stability in the
“The 69th Expeditionary Bomb
Squadron ‘Knighthawks’ fulfill our role in the CBP by using
nuclear-capable B-52s to demonstrate our ability to project lethal
global strike at the time and place of our choosing,” said Lt. Col.
Dennis Zabka, 69th EBS commander. “We continue to strengthen
alliances and long-standing military-to-military partnerships while
illustrating U.S. commitment to stability and security in the
B-52’s are one of three platforms that
rotate into Andersen, along with the B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Spirit.
The B-52 is a long-range bomber able to execute strategic
attack, close-air support, air interdiction, offensive counter-air
and maritime operations. It can occasionally be struck by lightning
and continue its mission.
“It’s a great aircraft,” said
Stawski. “The B-52 is a very reliable platform. It’s a beast.”
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