Feature Search

20 EBS demonstrates long-range strike capability

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Having retired from its role as the Sleepy Hollow of the Pacific, the 36th Wing has played host to Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence since 2004, when Pacific Air Forces officials began to routinely host B-1 Lancers, B-2 Spirits and B-52 Stratofortresses.

As one of the four installations that are bomber forward operating locations in the Air Force and a vital member of the Pacific's Strategic Triangle, Andersen is an invaluable asset for both real-world and training scenarios.

Currently deployed in support of the CBP on Guam, members of the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La. recently completed their first higher-headquarters directed tasking, or "LIGHTNING" mission, of their current tour.

"The mission to Alaska was dropped from PACOM for us to accomplish," said 1st Lt. Dusty Price, 20 EBS pilot. "It was a 24.3-hour sortie with eight crew members."

Although there are various types of LIGHTNING missions, they are all dependent on the specific geographical focus area. These missions enable the squadron to complete routine training and provide unique opportunities to strengthen alliances and hone vital war-fighting skills.

"We flew over 3,500 miles continuously and were able to bomb our target within 10 seconds of our timeline in a simulated threat environment," said Capt. William Lange, 20 EBS electronic warfare officer. "We simulated fighting our way into the designated target area and fighting our way back out. This mission enabled us to validate the specific strike capability we bring to the area of responsibility."

Flying these long-duration sorties also serves as a credible deterrent to potential foes by illustrating the B-52's capability to operate anywhere across the Pacific.

"The significant nature of the sortie was the fact that we actually flew a mission in excess of 24 hours," Captain Lange said. "The only thing that limits the B-52 is the stamina of the crew. In a real-world scenario this will be similar to a duration we would probably fly. Here at Andersen we have the opportunity to train the way we would fight."

The goal of the CBP at Andersen AFB is to ensure the United States, its territories and interests are protected, and the Asia-Pacific region is stable and secure. Air Force Global Strike Command bombers enhance this stability and security by routinely deploying forces to Andersen where they conduct training missions and familiarize themselves with flying across the Pacific Ocean and working with foreign allies.

"The successful completion of this mission just proved that we can take off from any base in the world, fly for long durations, strike any target in the world, make it all the way back home and be able to do it again," Lieutenant Price said. "That's what we're here for, that's our whole mission. We provide that deterrent; we provide that stability."

Social Media