ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
Approximately 150 Airmen and four B-1B Lancers assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, S.D., participated in Valiant Shield 2020 (VS20), a biennial, U.S.-only, joint field training exercise with a focus on integration between U.S. forces in relation to current operational plans.
The Airmen and B-1s deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, September 10 to conduct Bomber Task Force missions throughout the Indo-Pacific region. The bombers and aircrew integrated and familiarized themselves with the Joint All-Domain Command Operations concept for application in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility.
“Joint integration is always an amazing experience for our aircrews,” said Lt. Col. Mike Taylor, 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. “It’s a testament to everyone we have here that make the mission happen. Our maintenance team is incredible, they consistently provide us with B-1s that are ready for anything.”
The deployed squadron flew seven sorties for VS20, integrating with F-22s, as well as Navy air and surface assets, and sharpening their proficiency in a joint environment.
“The training is vital, especially being deployed out here, having a small and flexible footprint,” Taylor explained. “Every mission we stand to learn a little bit more and get even stronger as a joint force.”
Valiant Shield enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging adversary units at sea, in the air, in space, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.
This is the eighth exercise in the VS series. Previous VS iterations were held in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. VS is held during even years, opposite the U.S. Air Force-led Northern Edge exercise series held during odd years.