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

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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