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AFGSC commander gets close-up look at deployed bomber operations

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, visited here May 13-16 to assess ongoing bomber operations and meet with deployed Airmen.

Although bombers have rotated through Guam continuously since March 2004, the nation's B-2s and B-52s have been aligned under Air Force Global Strike Command only since Feb 1.
Gen. Klotz also laid a wreath at a memorial that honors the fallen Airmen of Raider 21. The aircrew were lost when their B-52 went down in the Pacific on Guam's Liberation Day, July 21, 2008.

"As the major command now responsible for the B-52 and B-2, it now falls to us to organize, train and equip those forces and send them forward under the command of Pacific Air Forces and Pacific Command to Andersen Air Force Base," the general said.

While here, the general met with deployed Airmen and observed, firsthand, operations and maintenance activities associated with deployed AFGSC assets supporting the Continuous Bomber Presence mission.

All told, AFGSC is responsible for the operations and maintenance of about 450 Minuteman III ICBMs as well as the B-52 and B-2 bomber fleet. More than 23,000 Airmen and civilians are assigned to AFGSC. The Airmen and assets deployed to Andersen spend about four months at a time here and continue to train and maintain proficiency in their operations. About 300 Global Strike Command Airmen are currently supporting the CBP in the Pacific theater.

Andersen, in turn, supports the Airmen deployed here as they would the in-garrison personnel with support functions such as finance, lodging, education services, as well as quality of life and recreation initiatives.

"I must say that every individual I've talked to who's deployed here from [AFGSC] is very pleased with the living conditions and facilities on Andersen Air Force Base as well at the very warm, gracious welcome they've received from the citizens of Guam and the surrounding community," General Klotz said.

"We're very grateful both to the wing and the people of Guam for taking such good care of our Airmen and I know their families, when I go back and report that to them, will be happy to hear that as well," he added.

Because the Air Force's bomber fleet has such important and unique capabilities, the continuous bomber presence is an effective, and essential, part of the United States' defense and deterrence plan. Andersen's position in the Pacific vastly shortens the "tyranny of distance" by reducing a bomber's flight from more than 15 hours from the U.S. to the Pacific Theater, and about four hours from Guam to anywhere in the western Pacific region.

While the support of Andersen for the Airmen and aircraft of AFGSC are key to accomplishing the mission here, the opposite is also true.

"Air Force Global Strike Command significantly contributes to Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence mission by forward deploying B-2s, B-52s, and highly experienced and qualified Airmen to Andersen Air Force Base," said Brig. Gen. Philip Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander. "Their deployment folds under the 36th Wing command in the presentation of global strike forces that deter potential adversaries and assure our partners in the Pacific region. Deployed AFGSC Airmen are part of Team Andersen's success in the conduct of this very critical mission."

General Klotz made the visit to Guam while on a Pacific trip starting with the Combat Air Forces and Mobility Air Forces commander's conference at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

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