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BUFF Family Ties

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Few aircraft have the service life to have had multiple family members support its airframe - not many except the BUFF.

One local major has the privilege to serve as the third generation in his family to be associated with the mighty B-52 in 60 years.

The family ties between Maj. Adam Price, 11th Bomb Squadron instructor pilot, and the aging airframe span across time when his grandfather joined the Army Air Corps in early 1947.

Thomas Potter, Major Price's grandfather, enlisted as a crew chief just as the Air Force was forming. His career path led him through two different fields before he retired as a bombing navigation systems technician with the B-52.

After growing up in the military, Major Price's mother called the recruiter and persuaded his father to join the Air Force and he enlisted in 1976.

"I retrained from the F-4E into bombers as a bombing navigation systems technician in 1982," said Rob Price, 2d Maintenance Group Air Force Engineer Technical Service avionics specialist. "After I graduated technical school, I was assigned to the 2d Avionics Maintenance Squadron here in April 1983.

"I was told to go to (Strategic Air Command) and ask for a five-year controlled tour because I didn't want to drag my family around but that got turned down.

"However, I still ended up here, with the BUFFs, for 20 years and retired in 2003," he said.

Making the Decision
Major Price remembers sitting on the back porch as an 8th grader when his father asked him what he wanted to do with his life.

"I told my dad I wanted to go into the Air Force and he told me to join as an officer," the major said.

College was never a question but after seeing a video about the Air Force Academy at career night I told my parents "I guess I'll go to the Air Force Academy," he added.
Following his family's footsteps in the Air Force wasn't going to be easy, Major Price admitted.

"My parents were very supportive of me, but I was kind of a (hard case)," he explained. "I hit the ground running in high school though, and was accepted into the Academy."

Sports kept the major busy in high school, and it also helped his father teach him a valuable life lesson.

"During his junior year, Adam decided not to play football anymore so I told him to finish what you start and not to quit in the middle of anything," Rob said.

"After finishing the season I went on to become a male cheerleader and even became the captain of the cheerleading squad in college," the major explained.

Rob credits his wife, Marla, who was also in the Air Force, for working with Adam and getting him into college while he was busy keeping planes together.

"She made a good, courageous decision to separate from the Air Force in 1980 and raise our family," Rob said.

Continuing the tradition
Price never intended to be a pilot but changed his mind after attending a summer program and "seeing the operational side of flying." After completing undergraduate pilot training, he was assigned as a T-37 instructor pilot with a bomber follow-on.

"My time as a cheerleader at the academy spread while at UPT, and I narrowly avoided the call sign Pom Pom," the major joked.

When it came time to choose a base at UPT, Price said he told the assignments officer he wanted the B-52.

"I grew up around the BUFF, so there wasn't a question about which bomber I was going to fly," he continued.

In 2002, the major became the third generation in his family to be affiliated with the B-52 when he was assigned to the 11th Bomb Squadron.

"I grew up on this base; if someone told me I would come back here I wouldn't have thought that was possible," the major said.

Appreciation for maintainers
Father and son continue to serve alongside the B-52, Rob as an AFETS avionics specialist and Major Price as an instructor pilot.

"I've got a personal stake in making sure these planes get fixed right the first time," Rob said. "Being stationed at the same base at the same time is an incredible feeling."

Major Price agreed saying that, "I feel great and secure knowing my dad has done some sort of maintenance on these planes. It makes me feel confident knowing he's still out there.

"If anything happens it won't be because of the maintenance performed," he added.
Because of his father's background, the major has an appreciation for all those who keep the B-52 flying.

"I see all the maintenance individuals hustling to get us off the ground," the major said. "I know I was never a maintainer, but I know what they are going through because of my dad."

Proud of what he's accomplished, the major looks at the future as an open door.

"I've got a long way to go, and a lot more I want to do - whatever the Air Force wants me to do, I'll do it."