FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Team Fairchild’s airpark is a staple in the base community, with featured aircraft including the first B-52 Stratofortress to ever shoot down two MiG-21 jets, and the last railcar aircraft simulator in the Air Force.
In addition to showcasing the past mission capabilities of the Air Force to the base population, the airpark also provides a way to show future Airmen and civilians the several strides the Air Force has made to be more innovative and efficient.
With such rich history, the airpark requires continued maintenance from Tech. Sgt. Brian Stolz and Staff Sgt. Alexander Tallant, 92nd Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsmen.
“We try to come up here at least once a month to make sure that everything is working the way it should be,” Stolz said. “I would hate to cancel a tour last minute because something isn’t structurally sound or the way it should be.”
Included in these Fairchild landmarks are the flight simulator train cars. From 1959-1964, the B-52D and KC-135A Stratotanker railcar simulators moved across America as a training capability for pilots.
“The railcars that we have here on our airpark are extremely unique. (We are) the last Air Force base to hold onto them, the rest of them have been either decommissioned or destroyed,” Stolz said. “In total, there were 18 railcars in the entire Air Force.”
The B-52D showcased is one of only two B-52s to shoot down a MiG-21 in air-to-air combat. Tail gunner, Staff Sgt. Samuel Turner, fired a 50-caliber machine gun at a MiG-21 from the back of the B-52D.
“Maintaining these historical pieces of information is pretty important because they serve as significant reminders of our heritage, and a place where veterans can come through and retell their stores,” Stolz said. “It’s kind of neat to see those things, and hearing their stories is by far the best part.”
Maintenance on the airpark aircraft and railcars is fairly minimal, but provides opportunities for maintenance Airmen to see Air Force progression throughout history.
“For the aircraft we fix structural damage, cosmetic wise, if any kids or people cause damage to the aircraft, we’ll come out and fix them to make them safe for public display,” Tallant said. “Anytime I come out here, I try to bring an Airman or two because it’s neat for them as well. They want to come out here and work on an aircraft that is different than the KC-135.”
Whether it is working on the aircraft of today or maintaining those of yesterday, Team Fairchild maintenance Airmen continue to propel the warfighting legacy of Fame’s Favored Few forward for years to come.