A Date with Mr. REAPER and DEATH – Day 2

When you have the most expensive bomber in the world on your base, security is beyond impressive. Whiteman AFB is a base within a base. Early this morning, I was allowed by the flight line maintenance crews to come out and take some pictures of the B-2 Stealth Bomber in it’s “Dock”, or hanger, as the sun rose above Knob Noster, MO. But to get to the flight line is an adventure in itself, and a testament to how serious security is at Whiteman. My public affairs escort for the day, SSgt Barebo, and I headed to the flight line entry control point. Numerous ID checks, verification of paperwork authorizing us to be there, checks to make sure the photo authorization is proper, and then only are we allowed in. FOD (Foreign Object Debris) check on our vehicle, and then only are we allowed to drive out to the Dock. But even that has to be at a certain speed, and only in certain areas since it’s an active ramp with aircraft taxing. We meet with our maintenance escorts, and once again verify the paperwork and discuss the shots that I am looking to get. While all this sounds overly strict, when you are dealing with a $2.2 billion dollar aircraft, it is necessary. But once all that was taken care of, and we were out there, I was led into the dock to meet my “model”; “Spirit of Indiana.” And what a beauty she was.

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A Date with Mr. REAPER and DEATH – Day 1

BAILOUT! BAILOUT! BAILOUT! 10-13 G’s later and just like that the canopy of my T-38 was gone.  Plummeting towards the earth at an alarming speed, I saw our T-38 from the 394th Combat Training Squadron at Whiteman AFB arc towards the Earth. Or at least that is what would happen if I ever had to eject out of the two seat twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer. And just like that I was back listening to Maj Troy Faaborg in my T-38 Egress Training at Whiteman AFB, MO; home to the most advanced and feared bomber in the world – The mighty B-2 Stealth Bomber!

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NASA’s SOFIA Visits Moffett Field

What would bring out 3,500 NASA AMES employees and their family and friends? Well, the world’s largest airborne observatory that they helped design and build. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne observatory is the worlds most heavily modified Boeing 747SP. And it came this past Monday to NASA AMES on a test flight and to be shown to the folks that helped give it life.

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NAS Lemoore

400 miles from Los Angeles to Sunnyvale. Nothing but cows, trucks, and fields. Well, that and the US Navy’s newest and largest master jet base. Home to 21 squadrons, flying the F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, NAS Lemoore is the largest concentration of Hornets and Rhinos anywhere; and a perfect stop on a long drive.

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NAS Pt. Mugu

What vacation trip would be complete without a trip to a military base? Definitely not one of mine!!! So on Aug 9th I met up with a fellow Fencecheck’er, LAX9DME, and he showed me around NAS Pt. Mugu. NAS Pt. Mugu is apart of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWPNS), where they provide R&D for air warfare, missiles, airborne electronic warfare systems, and weapons integration. NAS Pt. Mugu is also the home to numerous E-2C squadrons (VAW-112, VAW-113, VAW-116, VAW-117), VX-9 Bloodhounds, and the California Air National Guard 146th Airlift Wing. While I had hoped to capture some E-2C’s or some of VX-9’s NP-3D Orions & Herk’s they didn’t fly. But our first aircraft were a pair of CC-130J’s from the 146th CANG.

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