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Bringing the Shine Back to Barksdale's BUFF: Contractors at Barksdale AFB, La., are hard at work restoring a retired B-52D at the 8th Air Force Museum. This Stratofortress, with serial number 56-629, flew 400 combat missions during the Vietnam War, surviving a hit by a surface-to-air missile during Operation Linebacker II in 1972. This airframe also served as Boeing's test prototype for the "big-belly" modification that enabled carriage of as many as 84 general-purpose bombs, compared to 27 with the current B-52 H model. Restoration will include remedial sheet-metal work and a new coat of paint. "With the harsh Louisiana sun and weather, a paint job can only last about five or six years." said MSgt. Keith Baron, superintendent of museum operations. Since acquiring the B-52 in 1982, the museum has restored the aircraft several times, most recently in 2004, and hopes someday to build a museum facility capable of housing the aircraft indoors. (Barksdale report by SSgt. John Gordinier)