All reitred and went to Arizona

A friend forwarded me an email with these pics of the “Boneyard” at Davis Monthan Air Force Base:

The email he forwarded included a “Just think of all the $$ just sitting there.” Do people look at junk yards filled with old cars and go “Just think of all the $$ just sitting there.”? Probably not. And some of these planes will find new lives in the future.


  1. Junkyars are usually piles of smashed up dinged up cars and other junk piled together. There’s something eerie about just seeing all these planes lined up in rows. Like coming across a ghost town. I imagine the camo paint was for planes stationed in Vietnam or other jungle locations, to make them harder to spot by spyplanes and sat photos and such back 30, 40 years ago. I sort of doubt the fighters will find new life, but it’s entirely possible the bombers would.

  2. Dean: I’d guess you are correct on the cammo B-52s. As for the fighters getting ‘new life’ often times it’s as a target drone. I didn’t know this until recently, but the planes are returned to 100% flying condition and test-flown by pilots before being fitted with the remote control gear. That seems to make the sacrifice very sad. It’s like an old dog being given a drink from the fountain of youth before being taken out back and shot.

  3. I hadn’t thought of the possibility of target drones. I find it amazing to realize that that is even technologically feasible now, but obviously it would be. I imagine some of these old planes could also be sold to the militaries of other countries…. I imagine the Iraqi Air Force would love some of them, for example (although I don’t think we want to give them strategic bombers).

  4. I drive past this little Wonderland everytime I head into town. We’ve got B-1s now too! B-ONES in the BONEyard. AMARC (Air Force Maintenance and Regeneration Center) hates when you call it that; their inventory is not dead. There are chopshops all around that really are boneyards. Not everything at AMARC is old…there are F-18s fresh off the assembly line that the Navy/USMC didn’t have the budget to fly, so they’re out there under tarps waiting for their turn to dance. The Pima Air and Space Museum puts on a really good AMARC tour, besides hosting a lot of reunions for vets whose planes have gone well beyond the boneyard.

  5. Chuck: Yes, F-4s. And they’re doing something to one of them. I watched a show on Military Channel about the ‘boneyards’ and they covered the full restoration of an F-4 to good-as-new condition, the manned test flights and flight to the missile range, and then then blowing it out of the sky. We shoot down a better air force to test our missiles than most nations have on the front lines.

  6. I always thought the B-52 strikes came from Guam, not actually taking off in Vietnam. At least that was what Operation Arclight was all about.

  7. I’ve been there. And you know what? The Boneyard actually MAKES A PROFIT. Seems that the spare parts in it are very useful to many militaries, both American and foreign. And quite a few of the aircraft in it (around 30%) end up flying again. Because of the low-maintenance climate, it makes for a great reserve stock.

  8. When I was working out at AMARC, I got a tour of the whole facility. It would blow your mind to know all of the aircraft that we have sitting mummified waiting to be scrapped or put up for long term storage. If anyone is ever in Tucson, Az, there are 2 places you must go no matter what, Pima Air Museum (the best Air Museum in the world no questions)and AMARC. Murdoc, I have been trolling your site for over a year now, I just wanted to give you some major props from what you do. Thanks for the daily military fix, I don’t know what I would do without you!