This past week, on a backroad to a small Texas town, I was approaching a corner in the road that blocked my view of where the road would go up the hill after crossing a small creek. A motorcycle police officer, his lights flashing was riding down the centerline and moving cars like me to the shoulder. I pulled over and crept along behind a pickup.
Around the corner came six more vehicles, some with the tall poles off the front like they use when moving tall things along the highways, and more motorcycle cops with lights blinking. Then this massive semi hauling the fuselage of a B-1 bomber came around the corner. My jaw fell when I couldn’t believe my eyes. Never mind getting a picture of it. I was too agog to think.
I found out later the B-1 fuselage that went past me last week was being taken somewhere to have like an MRI scan done of it to help with its maintenance. Several B-1s have crashed, and I’m sure the Air Force wants to know why and how to prevent it. I hope they figure it out.
I know what the B-1s look like. They often roar out of the Air Force base we can see from our deck. We hear their thunder a lot, even at night. While some may object to the noise, Hubby calls it the sound of freedom, and that makes it okay. I’ve watched them at air shows go straight up from the end of the runway and I tell you from experience, they literally make the ground shake and force you to cram your fingers in your ears. They are powerful machines.
Back in my teaching days, I took a class that took place on Ellsworth Air Force Base (had to keep my teaching certificate valid). We got to sit in the cockpit of a B-1 which gave me claustrophobia. It’s tiny in there, and it sort of wraps around you. All the knobs and buttons were within easy reach, but all I could think about was getting back into where there was more room. In that same class, I got to “fly” a B-1 on the simulator. It was fun! Way more fun than being in that cramped cockpit. The pilot who was helping let me land it. I didn’t do all that well. He told me I would probably have walked away, but the plane was a total loss. Oops! There went simulated billions down the drain.
The procession I met last week reminded me of another time I met a large military transport. This was north of Spearfish back in the days when the Minutemen missile sites were still operational. On a remote highway in western South Dakota, I met military trucks with guns and armed people manning them. Overhead was a helicopter warship with who knows what kind of firepower on it. I moved to the shoulder and slowed down while several of the armed trucks passed, then a large truck with a box on the back went by with armed soldiers sitting outside with it, followed by more armored trucks. I have no idea what was in that box and didn’t want to know. I hoped it wouldn’t explode when it went by. Good thing it didn’t, otherwise, I wouldn’t be here to tell you the tale.
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, He it is that goes with you; He will not fail you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6