Feature Search

Air Force assists Navy, regional partners during Pacific Bond 2013

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed here from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., participated in Exercise Pacific Bond 2013 June 24 and 25, in support of U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force fleet defense training.

Two B-52 Stratofortresses from the 23rd EBS posed as opposing forces to three naval vessels to provide a real-time, credible threat to test naval defense capabilities and promote combined and joint-force integration.

During the exercise, the B-52s replicated an adversary air threat to the maritime vessels. The ships' preplanned responses, command and control structures, communications, threat management and mitigation procedures were tested through long-range aircraft approaches.

"There were some communication jamming and communication interaction," said Chief Warrant Officer Rene Cornejo, USS Antietam (CG 54) air warfare officer. "Through queries, warnings and working the ID matrix, we practiced identifying and influencing incoming possible threats."

Cornejo said the exercise proved beneficial to all participants. While the ships' crew members worked on their reaction time in detecting and engaging possible threats, the aircraft crews were able to train on their tracking and localizing capabilities for different sized ships.

"Working with the U.S. Air Force, especially the B-52's, is a rare opportunity," Cornejo said. "Our capabilities were greatly enhanced, and we look forward to interacting with the rotating bomber squadrons and our regional partners in the future."

Capt. Nate Barnhart, 23rd EBS Weapons and Tactics Flight commander, said assisting other branches of service and regional partners in training reinforces the security and stability in the Pacific region. This directly supports the 23rd EBS' Continuous Bomber Presence mission: providing extended deterrence and global strike capabilities and opportunities to strengthen alliances and long-standing military partnerships.

"These capabilities are important in any conflict or region, including the Pacific," Barnhart said. "The combined capabilities of each service contribute to the overall deterrence effectiveness in this theater."

As the U.S. Department of Defense moves toward joint structures and operations -- a movement that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said has enhanced military capabilities and defense -- exercises continue to reconcile differences in tactics, methodologies and lexicon, ultimately improving interoperability.

"Bottom line is that we want to identify and correct mistakes in training so that we are not trying to overcome them on night one of a major operation," Barnhart said. "These exercises not only teach what each service can do; they also provide specific details concerning individual aircraft and vessels. It allows us to identify and fix potential shortfalls in a training environment before any conflict or operation."

Social Media