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NEWS | May 5, 2023

B-52 Aircrews Affirm U.S. Air Force’s Commitment to the Indo-Pacific

By By Airman 1st Class William Pugh, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, have been operating out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of a Bomber Task Force Mission for the past month.

Four B-52H Stratofortress aircraft were deployed to the island, to accomplish strategic deterrence objectives in the region.

“The strategic intent of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region is to assure allies and deter aggression,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin C. Kempen, 96th BS director of operations. “By integrating with our allies in the area and ensuring international airspace and waterways are respected, the B-52 helps the U.S. meet this strategic intent.”

Bomber Task Force missions affirm Air Force Global Strike Command’s commitment to ensuring peaceful commerce and diplomatic relations can continue for all Indo-Pacific nations.

“Peace in the Indo-Pacific region is paramount to economic and diplomatic stability,” said Kempen. “Because the vast majority of a country's supplies travel through international shipping lanes, keeping these lanes free, open, and clear of interference is critical.”

As the U.S. Air Force’s long range strategic bomber, the B-52 has an undisputed role in the U.S. National Defense Strategy.

“The B-52 has been a reliable and lethal deterrent for the past 70 years and continues to provide deterrence on a daily basis,” said Maj. Joshua Dawkins, 96th BS Bomber Task Force director of operations.

Along with providing that daily deterrence from Guam, B-52 aircrews practiced flying sorties similar to the missions they would be undertaking during a real conflict in the region.

“Bomber Task Force missions provide opportunities that normal home station training doesn't,” said Kempen. “Practicing tactics, techniques, and procedures with joint land, sea, and air assets enables us to gain vital experience. Experience that will be valuable in the future if we are called upon to defend and support our allies in the Indo-Pacific.”

Already proven to be a steadfast airborne weapons-platform, the B-52 will soon be retrofitted with cutting-edge equipment.

“The B-52 will undergo a transformation in the near future that includes new engines, a new radar, as well as a transition to a four person crew,” said Dawkins. “These advancements will keep the B-52 proactively lethal as we continue towards the strategic deterrence of tomorrow.”

It’s not just the aircraft that is relied upon. Bomb squadron aircrews like the 96th BS train everyday to be mission capable and ready to answer the call.

“The B-52 and its crew members stand ready to fight,” said Dawkins. “Both today, and in the future.”


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