Some 450 people are expected at the big bash to mark the 60th anniversary of the U-2 on 12th September. Unlike some other reunion groups, the Dragon Lady Association does not meet every year. So the celebration at Beale AFB and in Sacramento will be a precious chance to renew old friendships and recall times shared while flying or supporting a unique airplane. I’ll be there with some other camp followers, including artist Kristin Hill.
Lockheed Martin invited the media to Palmdale on 18 August to meet the people who manage, overhaul and test-fly the Dragon Lady. Was this a first, I wonder? The result was some good press coverage. Amidst the inevitable crop of ‘what-do-U-2-pilots-eat-for-lunch’ stories was some useful commentary on what might replace the jets. After the event, the Los Angeles Times reporter sought independent advice on the Global Hawk from defense analyst Loren Thompson. His short but accurate comment was that the U-2 and the UAV “are complementary.”
Meanwhile, maintenance troops at the 380th EAMS in the desert (also still known as ‘Det 4’) decorated 067 to mark the anniversary. Well done to SMSgt ‘Duck’ Birchard for this initiative, and to SSgt Anita Reyes, SSgt Joshua Singletary, TSgt Amber Cox, and SrA Cody Tinney for the artwork. Photos by TSgt Jeff Andrejcik.