I was stationed at Loring Air Force Base (located in Limestone, ME) from June, 1974 to June, 1977. I was 18 years old when I arrived at Loring, fresh out of tech school, and was assigned to the Electronic Countermeasures Maintenance (ECM) shop of the 42nd Avionics Maintenance Squadron, 42nd Bomb Wing of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command.  

Of the three years I spent at Loring, the first 1 1/2 years were spent working mid-shift (0000-0800 hrs) on the flight line, repairing ECM equipment on B-52G model aircraft (can you spell COLD ???).

The last 1 1/2 years was spent working in the shop itself repairing the AN/ALT-28 ECM transmitters. Along with my partner Tom Moore, we worked our butts off (7-days/week) doing frame-up restorations of the ailing T-28s (anyone remember "Graham-Moore Inc" T-28 transmitters?), making a big impact on the work-load of the guys on the flight-line. We couldn't have done this without the full backing of the ECM Shop Chief (Jim Patty), and his Shop Super (Joe Reinheart). I credit Joe, who gave me my first break in entering into the electronics field, with being one of the major influences in my (so-far) long running high-tech career.

My clearest & fondest memories are of the great people working there under some unbelievably tough conditions.

 
Index of Bill Graham's "LoringAirForceBase":   (Click on any image to see the full sized view)


"42 AMS Bldg - Front" - front of the 42 AMS building, circa 1976. That's me on the right, and that's my flight-line badge (attached to the string seen just to the left of the 42nd AMS sign) that my partner (Bill Senute), standing slightly behind me, is throwing over the snowbank. This badge allowed entry onto the flight line, including the highly secure Nuclear Alert areas. The USAF seriously frowned on anyone loosing their flight-line badge. It took me ~15 minutes crawling around in the cold snow to find it ... thanks, Bill !!!

P.S. - I'm 6' 2" tall, just so you have an idea of the height of the snowbank

"Arch Hanger" - Loring's famous Arch Hanger. As I recall, the Arch Hanger was big enough to hold two B-52s and a KC-135 tanker. It was BIG! When President Nixon visited Loring in 1974, they first setup the event in the massive Arch hanger. During final testing of the P.A. system, they discovered that the natural acoustics of the hanger generated a LOUD 3-second echo, forcing them to move the event at the last minute to the smaller D.C. hanger.

"Arch Hanger & Tower" - Another view of same

"B-52D Model" - An older B-52D model on the pad.

"B-52G Front" - A B-52G model on the pad at night. Note the hatch door open hanging down between the landing gear.

"B-52G Gun" - A B-52G model from the business end. That appendage pointing down is a quad .50 cal machine gun designed by the genius John Browning. The gun was controlled by the B-52 gunner. On the 'G' model Buffs the gunner sat in the front crew compartment of the aircraft (facing rear, next to the Electronics Warefare Officer). Since the gunner was the only enlisted person in a B-52's crew, guess who got to make the coffee (and perform the other duties no one wanted)? On the earlier model Buffs (at least the D's), the gunner sat in the rear of the aircraft, aleviating them from these s#!t details.

"B-52D Gun" - A B-52D model, showing the quad-50 turret and the gunners location (note the windows).

"B-52G Rear" - A B-52G undergoing maintenance. Note the open rear hatch above the maintenance stand, leading into the rear equipment bay. Also note the antennas on the planes belly, just forward of the maintenance stand.

"B-52G Night" - Night operations on the flight line. B-52G #0193 undergoing service to the port outboard engine. Note the mechanic on the stand. Also note the snow banks between which the bombers were parked.

"B-52G Night" - Night operations continue on the flight line ...

"B-52G Night" - More night ops on Loring's flight line. Those yellow crates on wheels are 'heaters'; each one came with a long yellow 'flex' hose that you see on the ground. We often had to go through two or three of these heaters to get one that would start and run. If we couldn't get any (or enough) heaters working, we'd call Job Control to order delivery of another heater, which sometimes took a long time. Often, we'd give up waiting, and just procede without a heater (notice how many of them don't have hoses connected in this picture ... they probably don't work). Even with heaters, with the temp hovering at -20 to -30 degrees, and the wind howling on the flight-line, it would often take more than one to keep your hands & face warm while you were performing work that you couldn't do with gloves (like saftey-wiring equipment, for instance).

"AMS 3" - Good old 'AM3' (our van's radio callsign), the ECM shop step van (at least we always considered it ours ... notice the Old Crow symbol w/lightning bolts on the AMS3 graphic ... that was the ECM symbol). All the ECM guys spent many COLD times warming up in this vehicle. She was already really tired when this photo was taken in ~1974, but always a very welcome sight on the flightline. Note the 'buff' in the background. Also note the beautiful Loring weather. This was the weather we typically operated in during most of our year. A very heartfelt thanks to my friend, Jim Gray (Loring ECM 71-74) for this photo.

"KC-135 Tanker" - No ECM on the tankers (at the time), but I never held that against them. They sure were critical to Loring's mission ... Buffs get thirsty!

"Radar Tower Sunset" - A nice sunset behind Loring's Radar Tower.

"Amazing Rainbow" - This picture does not do the rainbow justice. Looking out from the 2nd floor of the AMS barracks (when we were located just below the NCO club). This is not a double rainbow, but rather one of the single 'super-wide' rainbows that occured fairly regularly at Loring in the spring-time. I have never seen rainbows like this outside of Northern Maine.

"42 AMS Barracks (circa 1974)" - This was the barracks housing for the 42 AMS (single) troops when I arrived at Loring in June of '74. This building was adjacent to the chow hall. My room was the one on the 2nd floor to the left of the day-room. We moved barracks sometime around 1976 to the building accross from the base gym.

"42 AMS Barracks (winter)" - Same building in the dead of winter. Where do you put all that snow???

"Snow Everywhere!" - Everywhere you look ... SNOW!

"Ecm Shop #1" - Looking at the ECM Job Board, and some of the guys on the ECM flight-line 'swing-shift'. Left to right are: 'Murph' (Kevin Murphy), 'Craze' (Charles Carter), Tsgt Krevchuck (ShiftSuper), and 'Foxy' (John Fox). Notice the gear (all USAF issue); Arctic Parka (with genuine fur lined hood), Mukluk snow boots, reflective 'cross' on Foxy's back (mandatory on all flight-line uniforms), the venerable blue watch caps, and Craze's (atypical) cold weather hat. We're cleaning up, getting ready to change shifts (to 'mids').

"Ecm Shop #2" - Looking to the right of the ECM Job Board. Here 'Murph' (Kevin Murphy) is performing the flight-line toolbox inventory, which occured at the end of each shift. The toolboxes had foam cut-outs for each-and-every tool. Any tools missing had to be accounted for, even if it meant spending the following shift searching every plane the technician visited while on the flight-line. If the tool couldn't be found, every plane (in theory) had to be grounded (Red 'X') until it was found. Lost tools could cause a catastrophic incident during flight, possibly 'jamming' the controls of the aircraft.

"Shop Repair Bench" - This was next to my work bench for repairing the T-28 transmitters. We had two benches to repair the T-28's (the only system in the shop with dual repair benches) due to their horrible reliability in-flight. We totally resolved this situation by implementing a massive frame-up overhall of all transmitters rotated in for repair, then performing a full-up alignment verbatium per the Tech Order. The final result of this overhaul was stenciled "Graham/Moore Inc." to designate the overhaul had been completed. We backed these units with a guarantee, so that we'd go R&R a unit if it failed upon installation. Also, note the warning sign. We had to stay alert, since the high voltage in the T-28 was in excess of 10,000 volts at greater than 500 milli-apmeres. Very lethal!

"HD Repair Station" - This was directly next to my work bench for repairing the transmitters. This was used to repair the ALT-28 Hydraulic Coolant units, which used DC-200 dialectric oil to cool the output tubes of the T-28 transmitters. My work bench can be seen off to the left side of the picture. This repair station was in-operable almost my whole time at Loring, until Mr. Hickox spent the better part of a year repairing it.

"Toyota Land Crusier FJ-40" - My vehicle during my stay at Loring. This was the venerable "Land Crusher"; what a Land Cruiser looked liked pre-SUV days. Still sold in coutries outside the US. An ideal vehicle for cursing the Northern Maine logging roads, which went on for miles-and-miles.



All images are copyright (c) 2006, Bill Graham.  All rights reserved.  Images may not be used for commercial purposes without explicit permission of Bill Graham.