The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds of weapons, and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles without aerial refueling.

The B-52 has been in active service with the USAF since 1955. As of December 2015, 58 were in active service with 18 in reserve. The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command until it was disestablished in 1992 and its aircraft absorbed into the Air Combat Command. The B-52 completed sixty years of continuous service with its original operator in 2015. After being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, it is expected to serve into the 2040s.

The B-52 shared many technological similarities with the preceding Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber. The two aircraft used the same basic design, such as swept wings and podded jet engines, and the cabin included the crew ejection systems. On the B-52D, the pilots and electronic countermeasures operator ejected upwards, while the lower deck crew ejected downwards; until the B-52G, the gunner had to jettison the tail gun to bail out.

When the B-52 entered into service, the Strategic Air Command intended to use it to deter and counteract the vast and modernizing Soviet military. As the Soviet Union increased its nuclear capabilities, destroying or “countering” the forces that would deliver nuclear strike became of great strategic importance.

After Vietnam the experience of operations in a hostile air defense environment was taken into account. Due to this B-52s were modernized with new weapons, equipment and both offensive and defensive avionics. This and the use of low-level tactics marked a major shift in the B-52’s utility.

The B-52 contributed to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, providing the ability to loiter high above the battlefield and provide Close Air Support through the use of precision guided munitions, a mission which previously would have been restricted to fighter and ground attack aircraft. In late 2001, ten B-52s dropped a third of the bomb tonnage in Afghanistan. B-52s also played a role in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which commenced on 20 March 2003. On the night of 21 March 2003, B-52Hs launched at least one hundred AGM-86C CALCMs at targets within Iraq.

On 9 April 2016, an undisclosed number of B-52s arrived at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, part of the Military intervention against ISIL. The B-52s took over heavy bombing after B-1 Lancers that had been conducting airstrikes rotated out of the region in January 2016. In April 2016, B-52s arrived in Afghanistan to take part in the War in Afghanistan (2015–present) and began operations in July, proving its flexibility and precision carrying out close-air support missions.

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The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

U.S. Air Force photo 060202-F-6809H-100. A U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortress of the 2d Bomb Wing static display with weapons, at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana (USA), in 2006.

The B-52 wasn’t created to be “green.” It was built to win wars and break things.

BINGO is not played in enemy territory. This image comes to mind when someone calls out “B-52” and the Bingo hall empties!

Additional Resources about the B-52

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Winter 2017

I begin this issue of Senior Moments Newspaper by reflecting on the Christmas Miracle of 1776. Washington crossing the Delaware River and winning the battle. Historian David Hackett Fischer said, “No single day in history was more decisive for the creation of the United States than Christmas 1776. George Washington was only forty-four years old.

Mention the classic horror films of the 30s through the 60s and three names immediately come to mind: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Vincent Price. But did you know Price was from Missouri? ’Fess up! How many of you were scared spitless watching The Pit and the Pendulum? Price may have been the scariest man in the world.

Paul Cézanne, page 7, was the preeminent French artist of the Post-Impressionist era, widely appreciated toward the end of his life for insisting that painting stay in touch with its material, if not virtually sculptural origins. Also known as the “Master of Aix” after his ancestral home in the South of France, Cézanne offered a new way of comprehending the world through art. With his reputation evolving steadily in the late years of his life, an increasing number of young artists fell under the influence of his innovative vision. Obsessed with Mont Sainte-Victoire in Aix, Cezanne is known to have painted the mountain at least sixty times, which led me to title my art devotional, “The Man and his Mountain.”

This issue’s book review is of Andy Williams’ biography. A terrific review by John V. of the UK is included. The book is only about 300 pages so it’s an easy read and if you were ever interested in Andy Williams as performer, husband, father, brother, restaurateur, art aficionado, you’ll enjoy this book.

Andy Williams was known by many names but ultimately as “Mr. Moon River.” After recording that song in 1962, and performing it at the Academy Awards the same year, the song sort of became Andy’s signature song. So much so, Andy sang the first eight bars of Moon River at the beginning of each episode of his television program. On May 1, 1992, Andy opened the Moon River Theater in Branson with much fanfare including composer Henry Mancini as guest. (Sorry I missed that one.) On page 5 we pay tribute the crooner who at one time had more gold albums than any solo performer except Frank, Elvis, and Johnny (Mathis).

I have attempted to look into a crystal ball and see the future of banking from a layman’s point of view. This we know about the subject, the future is uncertain and change is accelerating. Regulations, culture, new technology, and the Internet of Things, are all having an impact on our banks. But what does that mean for us seniors? You can read my predictions on page 8.


Added to the loss of life and real estate this fall by fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes, I have seen many victims on the news talk about losing precious photos and other documents. As a result, I have been uploading many photos to the cloud (Internet). Therefore, whatever happens to our collection of photos, copies will be safely stored somewhere on the Internet. The original photo may be gone but a digital copy will be safe and easily downloaded, printed, and framed.

Speaking of the recent disasters, it understandable that folks are anxious about the future. I recently heard someone on the radio suggest we try and stay in the “present.” By that he meant try not to fret about the things we have no control over. Try not to worry too much about the future since that’s not clearly seen. Stay in the present.

Jesus gave us that idea a couple of thousand years ago when he said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NCV). Friend, I encourage you to ask the Lord to help bear the burden of each day as the day comes around.

Until we meet again on this page in the spring, may God bless you, Bruce Menzies.

Fall  2017

Winter 2017

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