Loring Air Museum Open House Weekend
LORING, Maine (WAGM) -
The Loring Air Museum is throwing it’s open house weekend out at the former Airforce Base which kicked off with the landing of a B-52. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard takes a look back at why the landing of this airplane is so significant for Aroostook county and the local veteran community.
The Last time B52s landed on the running of Loring air force base was the fall of 1993. The former base closed the following year after recommendations from the 1991 Base realignment and closure commission.
“Over the years we’ve forged a close relationship with you and the local communities, you’ve warmly opened your lives and your homes to us and you’ve shared our triumphs and our tragedies and we’ve enormously benefited from your friendship and we will miss that and we will sorely miss you.” - Col Robert J. Pavelko – Last Commander of Loring AFB
In addition to Loring’s bombing mission, another significant aspect is their refueling missions, allowing aircraft to refuel before heading over the Atlantic
Since the base’s closure, the Loring Air Museum has done it’s best to keep the history and the memories of those who served at Loring over it’s 40 year history. They’ve hosted open house weekends in years past, but this year, they brought out the big guns with a B52 landing Thursday afternoon on Loring’s historic runway.
“So many people here that didn’t want the base to close, and for them it’s almost like a homecoming. I’ve had people I’ve talked to all week, night and day, and they’re just stoked about the event. B52er’s, navigators, people who were gunners on the plane, they are so super excited that this is finally happening. A lot of us don’t live by big cities, we don’t get to these open houses that military installations have, so this is their chance to see it up close and personal” - Cuppy Johndro – CoChair/Secretary – Loring Air Museum
Richard Bechtel was stationed at Loring during the 60′s and says seeing the B-52 back on the runway of the base, and the flyover’s scheduled warms his heart.
“It’s a real treat for me, that’s something that I don’t think most military people get to do is come back to their home base” says Bechtel.
Out on the runway thousands gather to witness a 2nd B-52 fly over the base Friday afternoon as the open house weekend kicks off. Many veterans who served here, sharing with their families the sights and sounds they once experienced.
“We know we’ve got a whole weekend of events, very happy to meet the people and talk about what they did, tell them a little bit about what we do and we’re really excited to be here this weekend” - Lt. Col. Jason Dymond “V8″ – B-52 Air Commander
“A lot of people here I think have an attachment to the B-52, and I’m sure for them It’s just as special for us.” - Maj. Kevin Wood “Heat” – B-52 Pilot
“We welcome everybody to come check it out, check inside the bomb bays, talk to the pilots, it’s going to be here for everybody all weekend.” - Matt Cole – Event Organizer
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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