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NEWS | April 4, 2024

B-52 Bombers return home after BTF deployment to Diego Garcia

By Master Sgt. Staci Kasischke, 2nd Bomb Wing

A Bomber Task Force deployment of two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses, Airmen and support equipment from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, concluded at Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, April 3.

This deployment was in support of Pacific Air Forces’ training efforts with Allies, partners, and joint forces and strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our biggest objective is to continue demonstrating our commitment to the security of the Indo-Pacific region and to our allies there, showing our dedication to these global relationships,” said Lt. Col. Vanessa Wilcox, 96th Bomb Squadron and BTF commander.

The BTF managed significant logistical challenges, including long-duration flights exceeding 30 hours, which tested and ultimately reinforced the crew's endurance and operational readiness.

“Flying for over 24 hours, pushing into the 30-hour range, is a challenge,” Wilcox said. “It builds on our readiness, training to the capabilities we need to reach different parts of the globe, specifically across the Pacific.”

This deployment was carried out by a smaller footprint of Airmen compared to routineB-52 BTF deployments.

“The ability to move a smaller group of people across the Pacific quickly is a testament to our capability to perform our job anywhere, anytime, and we are on watch 24/7 to deter our adversaries,” Wilcox said.

Diego Garcia provides an unmatched strategic base, a testament to the U.S.'s ability to support operations in this crucial geographic area.

“We have decades of history in the Indian Ocean, stationed out of Diego Garcia across multiple conflicts,” Wilcox said. “This and Andersen Air Force Base are our most significant and stable hubs to operate out of in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Achieving a successful BTF deployment with fewer personnel and resources speaks to the innovative approaches and capabilities the Air Force continues to develop.

“We are able to truly demonstrate our ability at a moment's notice to execute, to have that strong, credible bomber force enhancing the security across the Pacific or any area of responsibility we're operating in,” said Wilcox. “And by being able to do it with such a small group of people, you get to see how effective we can be.”

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