Maintaining a legacy

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Staff Sgt. Harley Phillips, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron debrief assistant NCO in-charge, examines a photograph in the 96th Bomb Squadron Heritage Room on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., May 9, 2014. Airmen in the 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron have collected photos, posters and other items as well as donated their time to create the room’s legacy and provide a reminder to Airmen of their storied history.

2nd AMXS continues WWI heritage

Story by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Raughton,  2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE — There’s one room in the 96th Bomb Squadron that shows Airmen not just maintaining aircraft, but maintaining and recording their heritage by volunteering off-duty time and resources to the special place displaying their lineage.

The 96th BS Heritage Room is not only a reminder to the maintainers’ long, storied history, but is a product of the Airmen’s dedication resulting in a visual representation of their legacy.

“This [Heritage Room] shows the Airmen that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves and part of a legacy that’s been continuing since World War I,” said Chief Master Sgt. Roy Hess, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance superintendent. “If you never look back, you may never appreciate how you came to be where you are today. Once you’re a part of this family, this becomes your lineage.”

The Heritage Room began with photographs depicting the history of the 96th BS, with some images dating back to 1919.

The room is also designed to boost morale, said Staff Sgt. Harley Phillips, 2nd AMXS debrief assistant NCO in-charge.

“We’ve gone from a French-built B-2 biplane to a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress, and our room reflects everything in between,” he said.

The Heritage Room contains photos of the 96th BS maintenance hangar being built in the 1930s, photos of many aircraft flown by the squadron since 1919 and more current squadron photos.

“Throughout the years, several people have contributed to the room,” said Phillips. “Many of the photos are from the historian or are local finds.”

The room also contains parts from aircraft flown in the past by the bomb squadron that have been recycled into iconic displays. One of these aircraft parts is a B-18 engine cowling.

“We made a table from the engine cowling,” Phillips said. “We opened it up, put a shelf inside with other items on it and put glass on top.”

The cowling-table ties in with other historical aspects of the room such as control maps, newspaper clippings and a flight computer.

As the squadron continues to evolve, so will the Heritage Room.

“It feels awesome to be working in a squadron with this much history behind it,” said Senior Airman Nicholas Kupferle, 2nd AMXS dedicated crew chief. “This room gives us a sense of how far along we’ve come and how the past has led us to where we are in the present.”