Museum to hold B-52 dedication ceremony Oct. 13

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is planning a dedication ceremony for its newly restored B-52 Stratofortress bomber. (Courtesy photo)

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is planning a dedication ceremony for its newly restored B-52 Stratofortress bomber. (Courtesy photo)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History will hold a dedication ceremony for the newly restored B-52B Stratofortress bomber 5-7 p.m. Thursday in Heritage Park, the museum’s outdoor exhibition area.

This is a celebration to thank all volunteers who gave thousands of hours in service, the donors who provided financial support and B-52 crews past and present. Dignitaries will acknowledge the legacy and historical significance of Albuquerque’s Stratofortress, one of only a few B-models left in existence and one of only four in the world on display for public viewing.

This type of aircraft, built by Boeing, was the first truly operational version of the Stratofortress that featured enhanced reconnaissance capability and was fitted with a bombing/navigation system. It remained in service into the mid-1960s, when it was traded in for more modern B-52s.

This particular B-52 remains the only B-52B in existence that has dropped an atomic bomb — dropped during testing. It is known as Albuquerque’s airplane, as it was delivered directly from Boeing to Kirtland Air Force Base in 1955 and was never assigned to another base.

Restoration of the aircraft, the largest artifact in the museum’s collection, began in April under the supervision of Maj. Jerry Hanks with the help from museum staff members and volunteers. The cost was more than $120,000, as the surface area of the B-52B is more than two-thirds of an acre.

The museum is at 601 Eubank Blvd. SE, near Kirtland’s Eubank Gate.