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7th Wing Badge Dyess
Air Force Base
Abilene, Texas
Air Combat Command

Texas
Home of the 7th Wing
"Mors Ab Alto"

Dyess Air Force Base is the original home of the B-1B


Dyess Air Force Base Intro

Early on a Saturday morning I climbed in to my pickup truck and headed west on a great adventure.

A friend who I had met via my web site had invited me to come visit him at work... at Lockheed Martin Information Services - Quintron Operations - Dyess AFB.

I packed my 35mm camera and several rolls of film, my first generation digital camera, extra batteries, a Texas map, and a bag of Oreo cookies to keep me company.

It was a typical sunny Texas day with a high of 105 degrees fahrenheit. I had been warned that it would be extremely hot in the cockpit of the B-1 parked on the tarmac, but I think the aircraft would have to be on fire to keep me out of it. I put on a pair of shorts and my cleanest USAF t-shirt and I was ready for anything.

It took me a little over 3 hours to cover the 200 mile distance from my house to Abilene, a town rich in Texas folklore history (it seems like every Western story has at least one character who is "on the trail over to Abilene".

As I reached the city limits I unfolded a printout of the email that contained the phone number I was supposed to call. I dialed the number on my cell phone and a minute later I was hearing the voice, for the first time, of Michael Newberry.

"Mike" is a Configuration Management Technician who invited me to a tour of the base and his place of employment. Mike's job is to make sure that the B-1B flight simulator and the actual aircraft function exactly the same, so pilots and programmers can discover and solve "glitches" in the bombers software without endangering lives (that's my simple interpretation, I think it's much more complicated than that).

This means Mike gets to work directly with Air Force pilots and a couple of life-size B-1B cockpits that roll, yaw, and pitch just like the real thing. I know it's a difficult job, but I am completely jealous!

Click the book icon below to read the rest of the story...

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