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.