B-52 Stratofortress Coin

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At the height of the Cold War, the B-52 Stratofortress and the personnel who flew, maintained, and supported it were a primary American weapon against the threat of Soviet nuclear aggression and the backbone of the Strategic Air Command. Today, its five-man crew (aircraft commander, pilot, radar navigator, navigator and electronic warfare officer) remain essential to America’s ability to fight war in the air.

The B-52 first entered service in 1955 as a long-range nuclear-capable bomber for the US Air Force. Built by the Boeing Company, the B-52 was a technological marvel, which included swept wings and eight jet engines, enabling a range of 8,800 miles and a top speed of 650 mph. With two large bomb bays and a capacity of 70,000 lbs., its intended delivery mission was the carrying of nuclear weapons, but has also proven to be outstanding in dropping conventional weapons. From Vietnam to Afghanistan the B-52 has established itself as the most durable bomber of the US Air Force. In 1996, as part of Operation Desert Strike, two B-52s flew a 34-hour, 16,000-mile round trip mission to deliver 13 AGM-86C conventional air launched cruise missiles at Baghdad power stations and communication facilities.

The B-52H is assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB (ND) and the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB (LA) and function under Air Force Global Strike Command, whose mission is to provide combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations. Air Force Reserve Command also has the B-52 at its 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB.

B-52 Characteristics

* Pratt & Whitney engines TF33-P-3/103 turbofan (8)

* 17,000 pounds of thrust per engine

* 185 ft. wingspan

* 159 ft., 4 in. length

* 40 ft., 8 in. height

* 185,000 lbs. weight

* 488,000 lbs. max takeoff weight

* 312,197 lbs. of fuel

* 70,000 lbs. payload of bombs, mines and missiles

* 650 mph (mach 0.86) speed

* 8,800 miles range

* 50,000 ft. flight ceiling

Minted in the USA from special deep-relief coining dies; struck from solid bronze; and hand-finished with an antique patina for exceptional quality and detail, the B-52 challenge coin pays homage to this unfaltering mainstay of U.S. Air Force aviation, its aircrews, maintenance, and logistical support personnel. The obverse features the aircraft in flight as a sentinel of freedom as it has been since 1955, with a schematic representation of the aircraft behind; the reverse features the Air Force symbol trimmed in Air Force blue.