You think fighter pilots have long days? Well, think again. Air Force B-1 crews and maintainers are the ultimate midnight-oil burners.

In April of 2020, a B-1B “Lancer” bomber from Ellsworth Air Force Base, SD, flew a 30-hour, round-trip mission to Japan and back. In the first days of Enduring Freedom, B-2 “Spirit” bomber crews flew missions over 30 hours long, with one of the first lasting more than 44 hours. And this doesn’t include mission planning, pre-brief, maintenance debriefs, and mission debrief.

And I complain when my wife wants to drive six hours to visit family. (Holiday visits sometimes end like bombing runs, but that’s another story.)

What about those maintainers who are working on those jets right now? Literally right now, because the flight line never sleeps. Somewhere in the world, at this moment, a maintainer is cursing an engineer, pilot, or expeditor.