Academy cadet lauded for 'quick fix' on deployed B-1B

  • Published
  • By Don Branum
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
One of the Air Force Academy's goals, set by Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould in the third year of his tenure, is to contribute to winning the wars in the Middle East.

One cadet here has helped the Academy make a head start, Gould revealed during a superintendent's call here Aug. 2.

Cadet 1st Class Joel Noble of Cadet Squadron 14 traveled to Southwest Asia in July as part of the Operation Air Force summer program. An entry hatch bailout rocket had failed on a B-1B Lancer, and Noble shadowed the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron's operations officer as he sought a solution, 379th EMXS Commander Maj. Thomas Preston wrote in an email July 5.

"From discussion with the B-1B engineers back in America, they told us we could use a foam material to protect the rocket propellant," Preston wrote. "However we ... don't really have any material like this."

Acquiring a replacement part would have taken several weeks, Preston wrote. However, because Noble had shadowed the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron a week before, he knew the foam was locally available.

"(It) ended up being stuff you'd use to plug holes in your home," Preston wrote. "Cost of a can: $5. We presented him a 'cadet of the week' certificate, but in truth ... really he is the cadet of the deployment."

Noble, a native of Springboro, Ohio, said he hopes to become a helicopter or C-130 Hercules pilot after graduation.