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Guam B-52s evacuate to Fairchild in wake of typhoon

by 2nd Lt Tristan Hinderliter
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


4/6/2007 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNEWS) -- Aircrews and six B-52 Stratofortress bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, arrived here April 1 seeking refuge from Typhoon Kong-Rey, which ripped through the Western Pacific April 2.

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that was stationed at Fairchild for nearly four decades. The aircraft and crewmembers here temporarily are deployed to Guam, a Western Pacific island, from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La.

The crews later learned the typhoon had passed safely to the east of the island; however, with winds approaching 95 mph, it could have caused significant damage had it hit the base, according to crewmembers.

Officials at Andersen decided to err on the side of the safety and evacuate the aircraft after initial predictions for the storm showed a track which would pass over Andersen.

It was about an 11-hour trip from Guam to Spokane, said Maj. Harry Dyson, aircraft commander for one of the B-52s.

"The people at Fairchild and everyone we've met in Spokane have been very welcoming," said Major Dyson, noting that Fairchild is perfectly set up to facilitate the aircraft after having had B-52s stationed here for so long.

Along with the aircraft commander, each B-52 crew consists of a copilot, radar navigator, navigator and electronic warfare officer.

The six B-52s are part of the 36th Wing at Andersen, which belongs to the Pacific Air Forces. The wing is one of several forward-deployed bomber units at key locations throughout the world.

Andersen is one of two critical bases in the Asia Pacific region, aimed at enhancing regional security, Major Dyson said.



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