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Secret Squirrel Stratofortress — the B-52 known as El Lobo II

28 December 2011

Secret Squirrel Stratofortress — the B-52 known as El Lobo II

30º 27′ 52″ N / 86º 33′ 41″ W

16-17 December 1991: 57 men in 7 B-52 Stratofortresses completed a record setting historical combat mission which was designated Secret Squirrel.

This mission was the first strike of Operation Desert Storm — initiating Gulf War I — flying 35 hours over 14,000 miles to launch 35 of the new and top secret Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) AGM-86C cruise missiles with their revolutionary GPS navigation into six target areas. These were pinpoint attacks and were significant in taking down one of the most sophisticated air defense networks in existence. The attack blinded and deafened the network in support of the follow-on tactical strike aircraft.

Five of the seven secret squirrel B-52 aircraft have been sent to scrapping but two are displayed in museums. Valkyrie is on exhibit at the Pima Air & Space Museum and El Lobo II (pictured below) is displayed on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Armament Museum.

El Lobo II, a Boeing B-52G Stratofortress, one of the seven Secret Squirrel bombers — photo by Joseph May

The nose art of El Lobo II — photo by Joseph May

 One half of El Lobo II’s engines — photo by Joseph May

 El Lobo II in left profile — photo by Joseph May

 Wrinkled skin of the B-52 which would expand, flattening the wrinkles, once heated by air friction at the higher flight speeds — photo by Joseph May

 Four castering main gear trucks are unique to the B-52 Stratofortress — photo by Joseph May

 The B-52 “G” model had a remote rear gun position with the gunner in the cockpit with the balance of the flight crew — photo by Joseph May

Posts on the museum and its displays can easily be found by pasting “U.S. Air Force Armament Museum” into the search window and selecting ENTER.

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From Air Force Print News Today on 01 February 2011, an article that is a concise overview of the Secret Squirrel mission and written by Lt. Col. Joseph C. Jones

The Shreveport Times has this article listing the fates of the seven secret squirrel B-52s as well as a roster of each crew.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. larry permalink
    2 January 2012 16:11

    Actually the wrinkles went away once the wing started flying, lifting the fuel load and airplane. The flex at wingtip from taxi to takeoff was about fourteen feet.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      2 January 2012 16:38

      Thanks 🙂

      I thought the wrinkles went away but had no idea about the timing of their disappearance or the amount of wingtip flex — an extraordinary amount. These two items help show what a balancing of forces are needed to engineer a great flying machine.

      Thanks so much for your insight.

  2. chet robbins permalink
    19 August 2012 08:55

    i refueled one of these buffs on the secret squirrel sortie. i was a boom operator on coral 50, a kc-10 flying out of moron ab, spain. i believe we were their next to last refueling on their return leg. offloaded 200,000 lbs of fuel. my receiver still had ordnance on one of it’s pylons. 2 of the aircraft on this mission were birds that i flew on when i was a gunner at mather afb.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      5 September 2012 00:29

      Chet — you witnessed history and were part of it — my admiration and congratulations. I’d like to learn a bit more about being a gunner on a B-52 — once I get some intelligent questions together I’ll email them to you if you do not mind. Thanks again, Joe

  3. chet robbins permalink
    7 September 2012 19:53

    found out recently that the nav augmentee on this sortie was also in the same bomb squadron at mather. small world.

  4. 14 August 2014 21:40

    Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform aas yours and I’m having
    difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

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