This is an illustration of aircraft B-52G 0248. It’s too small to see, but the nose art shows that this aircraft had the nickname of “In Harms Way”. There is a story that goes along with the nickname. Then again, don’t most nicknames have a story?
This is the B-52G that was accidentally hit with an AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile fired from an F-4G Wild Weasel on the first night of operation DESERT STORM. The B-52’s tail gunner mistakenly locked his anti-aircraft radar on the Wild Weasel thinking it was an Iraqi MIG. The Wild Weasel immediately detected the B-52 tail gun radar locking on to him and misidentified the radar signature as that of an Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) site. The Wild Weasel crew fired a HARM missile and watched in horror as it headed not towards the nonexistent Iraqi AAA site, but to the B-52 is was tasked with protecting.
Luckily the missile failed to hit the plane but instead detonated directly behind the bomber. These missiles are designed to hit non-moving ground targets, not moving airplanes. The resulting shrapnel and missile debris caused an excessive amount of damage to the tail section of the B-52. It ripped off everything aft of the vertical stabilizer. This included much of the tail gun system, the aft electronic warfare suite, and the drag chute. The B-52 was able to land safely on the island of Diego Garcia in Saudi Arabia.
It was then sent to Anderson Air Force Base on Guam for repair. I was in on the repair of this aircraft shortly after is was damaged. During the first Iraqi war, I was assigned to a squadron that was responsible for repairing B-52’s being used in Iraq and being flown from Diego Garcia. I spent four months back on Guam. I had been stationed there prior for almost three years. I could have been sent to places far worse than Guam. I could have gone to Saudi. I could have spent four months on Diego Garcia. I spent two weeks there once and that was long enough for me. As it was, I loved Guam.
Bob Deasy, the Radar Nav on board this aircraft the night it took a missile was kind enough to stop by and correct me on some of the things I got wrong about this story. His corrections can be found in the comment section. The main issue I got wrong was that the B-52 gunner locked onto the Wild Weasel with his radar.
He did not do that.