U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers returned to the Indo-Pacific region June 14 to conduct bomber task force operations out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During the mission, one B-52 integrated with F-22 Raptors and Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets to conduct intercept training over the Beaufort Sea in support of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s mission to safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada. Three bombers from the 96th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to support Pacific Air Forces’ training efforts with allies, partners and joint forces, and strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order in the region.
“Eielson’s unique location ‘on top of the world’ makes us an ideal site for rapidly projecting airpower anywhere in the northern hemisphere,” said Col. Shawn Anger, Eielson’s 354th Fighter Wing commander. “We’re eager to share our strategic location with the Bomber Task Force while our fighter wing Airmen work alongside them. Together, we’re demonstrating the agility in execution necessary to span the vast distances in the Indo-Pacific and providing a dynamic presence that amplifies our commitment to the INDOPACOM region.”
“This B-52 Bomber Task Force to Eielson shows the flexibility of PACAF to employ bombers from different locations in the AOR to project power throughout the Indo-Pacific,” said Maj. Will Schuh, PACAF Air Operations Division B-52 weapons officer. “Eielson provides the flexibility to use this BTF to easily satisfy requirements for multiple combatant commands, demonstrating INDOPACOM’s ability to synchronize and generate missions that support cross-command objectives.”
“Strategic bomber missions are unique in that they can take off from the [overseas and continental U.S.] and reach anywhere in the world. These Bomber Task Force missions provide our Airmen with the realistic training reps they require to remain highly proficient and ready to act whenever they are called upon to support the collective defense of the United States,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Duff, 96th Bomb Squadron commander. “Challenging our crews and support personnel in different theaters further demonstrates the credibility of our forces to provide global strike capability, anywhere at any time.”
In line with the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability, the BTF enables a mix of different types of strategic bombers to operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region from a broader array of overseas and continental U.S. locations with greater operational resilience. U.S. Strategic Command routinely conducts BTF operations across the globe as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to collective defense and to integrate with Geographic Combatant Command operations and activities. The last time B-52s deployed to Eielson AFB was July through August of 2017 in support of Red Flag-Alaska 17-3.