Climate and Deterioration claims the ARC LIGHT Memorial’s B-52D Stratofortress

Operation ArcLight Memorial at Anderson AFB in Guam.
Operation ArcLight Memorial at Anderson AFB in Guam.
Operation Arc Light Memorial at Andersen AFB in Guam. (US Air Force photo)

WarbirdsNews has learned that the B-52D Stratofortress 56-0586, long on display at the Arc Light Memorial Park on Guam is due to be scrapped. The airframe has simply deteriorated too far to save, despite the dedicated efforts of local airmen over the past thirty years. This is the second B-52D to succumb to the elements at the park, with 5,000 hour combat veteran 55-0100 having lost its fight in 1983. The Arc Light Memorial Park is dedicated to the 75 airmen who perished in the Viet Nam war while flying Arc Light bombing missions from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base and other Pacific island stations. The memorial park’s opening ceremony on February 12th, 1974 coincided with the first anniversary of the initial release of American POW’s by Viet Nam, and has remained a powerful statement to the sacrifice of so many US servicemen ever since.

Since preserving an aircraft as massive as the B-52 in a sea-air climate like Guam’s is no longer a practical venture, the memorial will follow a new design which features a B-52D’s silhouette on the ground. The vertical tail from 56-0586 will be preserved though; mounted on a plinth at the park. It will be joined by the vertical tail from a B-52H to mark the continued service of the Stratofortress and her crews in protecting America and its interests. Some other sections from 56-0586 will also find their way into preservation in a display at Andersen AFB’s Heritage Hall in the AMC Passenger Terminal.

16 Comments

  1. The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum has switched to Sherwin-Williams water based acrylics. The paints can be mixed to match the federal standard paint system. The paints are extremely easy to use, environmentally safe and safer for the crew. The paints are about 1/3 the cost of polyurethanes. For all the gate guards, this is a great paint system.

    Semper FI,
    Steve “Smitty” Smith
    curator

  2. Yeah, there’s a B-52 parked outside of the Orlando International Airport, as an homage to the days when the airport was a B-52 SAC base… wonder how that plane is holding up to our central FL weather?

  3. For preservation a reasonable amount of protection from weather is necessary. Sitting outside in the elements ( sun, wind & rain etc.) naturally they won’t last. Minimally a carport type of protection, preferably inside a hanger or museum.

  4. I hate to see it go. I served on the nearby NCTAMS WESTPAC Navy base 89-92. The name of the airbase is Andersen, not Anderson. It’s a common mistake. Just thought you’d like to know.

  5. We are lucky enough to have one at Battleship Park in Mobile, Alabama…
    My dad was a mechanic on them when he was in the Air Force.

  6. So sad to hear about the ARC LIGHT memoral birds at Andersen. When I was at Andersen on TDY in73 – 74, I was part of the crew that put 55-0100 up on the blocks. It involved pushing the Buff with a towbar on the rear gear and running another towbar under the bomb bay from the forward gear with about a dozen of us pushing and pulling on the towbar to guide it onto its final spot. QC&E was nowhere around.

  7. does anyone have a history of the buffs stationed at Walker AFB n.m. At one time we had about sixty buffs there for training and chrome dome missions along with alert pads. Just never see anything written about walker.

    • I was the crew chief on 586 at Carswell when it ran off the end of the runway and almost went into lake worth, The gunner also blew the turret. It was s very good airplane though.

  8. 55-0100 was one of the best flyin’ BUFFs on Guam!!! It would fly mission after mission with only minor write-ups.. but, when it “broke”, it was broke!! Not sure if it was originally a 99BW or 307th BW jet… sorry to see it in pieces “on the Rock”!!

  9. My father was stationed on Guam from 1969-1974 in the FMS squadron. He was one of the airmen who worked to get the original memorial set up. I was 10 years old at the time…

    Sad to see it go.

  10. I was the crew chief on 586 at Carswell when it ran off the end of the runway and almost went into lake worth, The gunner also blew the turret. It was s very good airplane though.

  11. Was 56-0586 originally a March AFB bird.?
    I was TDY with March AFB troops on Guam, from Loring AFB, ME, the summer of 1967.
    A mini-vacation for me but then I have forgotten the number of honeycomb panels I helped to replace.

  12. I was tdy from Edwards AFB for Linebacker ll the Xmas push that did what should have been done from the gitgo ! I was also did alot of mods on 008 a real historic Buff used as the mothership on X planes!

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