Okay, so now the hard part is forgetting that I stood infront of a LtCol and held my hand up swearing to obey the orders of the President and defend the constitution of the United States.
Out on the flightline, in front of B-1 117, the flagship of the series, with the chief holding a flag and my recruiter in her blues watching on to make sure the whole thing went alright, it struck me that while normally there’s a hokey jokey sense to any sort of words that come out of my mouth, this was a dead serious commitment, that by doing this my body was entering a contract with Uncle Sam to go and actively pursue and destroy enemies of the enemies of America.
We had gotten on base about 30 minutes prior, gotten entry paperwork completed, and then played carpool. The chief actually insisted I take shotgun in and hoped in the back, which is absolutely not what he had to do.
I asked my recruiter if, since the President was Commander in Chief, if he called and had some kind of minor order, could he call her up and demand she send an e-mail or change his flat tire(as in, since he’s commander in chief, does that mean he can give orders that any military member has to follow) and she seemed pretty confident that he would have to go through the chain of command and the General Staff first, who would tell their Colonels and Commanders and it would filter on down.
Then I asked, since it was gonna come up, what the proper title was for the Commander since I’m not technically in yet, but I still wanted to make sure the orders and titles were respected, if I should start referring to her by rank and the commander likewise.From the commander’s house we drove out to what looks like the ‘air port’ part of the base but seems to be referred to as the ‘flight line’ and the Commander mentioned that we would need to go and talk to security forces first since they would inevitably confront us and we might as well get it over with.
Then we drove down the line of 30 B-1s and found the ideal plane. The important thing seemed to be the visual element, and since no family was out there for me, it seemed like the right way to do it.
We got out, the suns out, and blasting photons into my eyes as the repetition of the oath went. Then we shook hands and he told me some cool factoids and information about the planes I’d be working on, walking right up and looking at the bomb deployment devices and systems that make them work. All I could think about was how the whole thing seemed like a mystery of complex pistons and pipes and tubing and wires, and how it would be interesting to look on them again in a few years with a much, much more thorough understanding of how they work.
An interesting thing about the B-1 is that it almost never got off the ground. Carter scrapped the program not due to overrunning costs but more due to the defection to Japan of Soviet Victor Belenkin, who told us of the super Foxbat which had the look-down shoot-down capability that made the low altitude bomber totally obsolete.
Luckily, or perhaps not, the invasions and fights in Afghanistan 1(Russia Vs Taliban) showed us that the wars of the future would not be high tech vs high tech, but primarily battles of superpowers covertly arming proxy forces and that meant one thing: no enemy jets with high tech systems.
So Reagan brought back the B-1 program and another 100 were made with the last one rolling out in 1987.
10 JDAMS, that’s the standard load out because we use them alot. B-1 carry the highest payload of any bomber in our fleet, and they are beautiful grey dragons.
Anyway, I’m in now, and after getting my paperwork signed I went and ate Chic-Fil-A…