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BARKSDALE – MARCH 5, 2015 by Eddie Trapp

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1373                           BARKSDALE                           MARCH 5, 2015

Each time I float Red River to Shreveport/Bossier City I can tell when I am getting close because one or more of the giant B-52’s are roaring across the sky as they land or take off from their home at Barksdale Air Force Base. The base was established in 1932 and covers several thousand acres in the edge of Bossier City. It is named for WW1 aviator and test pilot Eugene Hoy Barksdale, 1896-1926, who died over Ohio when a test plane malfunctioned and his parachute hung on the aircraft as he ejected.

These huge jets have eight engines, can carry 70,000 pounds of bombs, have a 185 foot wingspan, weigh 390,000 pounds, can cruise at 300 mph, have a combat radius of 5000 miles, and can carry up to twenty nuclear missiles. 744 of these bombers were built and many of them are still in use with a life expectancy that goes into the 2040’s. There have been several variations of the bombers over the years so the stats won’t fit every B-52. Bossier City is considered “the home” of the giant planes with a few more stationed in North Dakota. A testimony to Barksdale’s security is during the Twin Towers incident President Bush was reportedly hidden and protected on the base. Most of the base is off limits to civilians but there is a next door, interesting museum that is open from 9:30 to 4:00 each day except holidays.

My interest in the base was aroused as Jean, Granddaughter Harley, and I went to Bossier City to see Harley’s dad, Greg, his girlfriend Tricia, and Tricia’s son Bryan on February 21. Not only does Greg live very close to the base but works for North Shreve Welding, one of the biggest welding/metal building companies in the area. Currently Greg and his crew are working on the base constructing metal buildings. His job on the base has been ongoing for several months and he has told me several interesting stories. Just inside the gate at the base is a pit like at oil change places. Each morning Greg pulls the company truck over the pit then goes with his crew into a nearby building to wait while the truck is checked bumper to bumper for bombs. After about twenty minutes he gets the all clear and they proceed to the jobsite.

That may have sounded like strict security, but wait. Lately his crew has been working closer to some of the big jets and bombs. Each worker walks to the job site with a guard on each side carrying a machine gun. Two guards and two machine guns beside each worker. Additionally there are five hidden snipers nearby. Crosshairs are on each worker who has been instructed that for no reason are they to run. If they see a snake or if a bee gets after them they are not to run or they will be shot.

After we visited awhile we drove to Farmers Sea Food and checked on live crawfish. On the way we drove through historic downtown Shreveport. Greg showed us two bars that stay open late. They are the Blind Tiger and The Sandbar Club. The latter stays open until 6:00 in the morning. Greg passes by at 5:30 each morning on his way to work. Said he has seen several fights outside the club as he passes by —at 5:30 in the morning. At the market we found live crawfish still pretty high at $4.49 a pound but the price usually drops after Easter. A sign on the wall showed a gallon of raw oysters were $77.50. The smell of crawfish cooking filled the market and enticed us to buy a few pounds to eat. Thanks Greg for showing us around town and I’m waiting on the weather to float the river this spring.

Tricia’s dad is Mike Echols, a D J for radio station KWKH, 1130,The Tiger, and he, along with Steve Graf has an outdoor type program Wednesday’s from 11:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m. and another program Saturdays from 6-8 a.m. Years ago I would listen to KWKH playing old country western songs each time I visited Robert Dupont. Sunday morning we ate at IHOP with Mike and his wife and they are very interesting folks. You can listen to these outdoor type programs live on the internet by going to [email protected]     If your schedule doesn’t fit their live programs you can still go to the website, click on the archives, and listen to many outdoor type programs.

Cabela’s King Kat Lake Tawakoni Tournament went on last Saturday in the rain and a high of thirty four degrees. About seventy people in thirty four boats braved the elements and caught a lot of blue catfish. The top five fish weighed 194 pounds and were caught by Justin Cook of New Franklin, Missouri and Gary Ryan from Columbia, Missouri. Second place, with a weight of 186 went to John Allen of Detroit, Texas and Matthew Allen of Barnsdall, Texas. Biggest fish weighed 56 pounds and was caught by Jerod Mounger of Lone Oak and Dave Thomas of Brownwood, Texas. Remember the catfish tournament on Cooper Lake May 9 sponsored by Friends of Doctors Creek. Several big fish have been caught this year and a fish in the forty or fifty pound range could be caught in the tournament.

For you young guys that are beginning to date and maybe even consider marriage, here are a few words or phrases that you will need to understand. FINE—The word used by a woman when she knows she is right and you need to shut up. NOTHING—This word means you should be worried. GO AHEAD—One of the most dangerous. If you “go ahead” you will pay dearly. THAT’S OKAY—Danger! That is definitely not okay. When you hear that phrase immediately change your attitude.

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