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20th EBS picks up high ops tempo after replacing sister unit

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
More than 300 Airmen assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed here recently to replace their sister unit, the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, from Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

The squadron, comprised of aircrew, maintainers and mission support personnel, is here supporting U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence in the Asia-Pacific region while taking advantage of numerous training opportunities.

"While we are here, we have multifaceted goals," said Lt. Col. Tyrell Chamberlain, 20th EBS commander. "First, our number one mission is to bring combat capability to the Pacific region as part of the Continuous Bomber Presence. To do that, we will be doing lots of training as well as support higher headquarters directed missions. On those missions, we'll be sent to specific parts of the Pacific region to perform specific tasks in accordance with the PACOM commander's objectives," Colonel Chamberlain said. "

Colonel Chamberlain said that while Barksdale Airmen are here, they will also be taking part in community projects, professional military education and flight and ground training. "On any given training day, we might be flying sorties in the local area," he said.

Since their arrival, the 20th EBS commander said that the support from the 36th Wing has been supportive, and the squadron has already accomplished a great deal.

"I was extremely pleased with the reception of the 36th Wing," he said. "When we first arrived, from the second we got on the ground through the last couple of weeks, it has been an extraordinary effort by the 36th WG to take us into their community and mission. We joined in their mission right away. One of the very first things we had to do was redeploy almost half our squadron within 72 hours to evacuate for the possible typhoons in the area."

"That was an awesome effort by everybody involved," the colonel said. "Once we got everybody back together, the very next thing we got to do was join Team Andersen in putting on the air show. We were proud to open up the show for everybody and glad to be a part of Team Andersen right off the bat. The squadron feels right at home and has already accomplished a great deal alongside the rest of the Airmen stationed at Andersen AFB."

The commander said he feels that Team Andersen has made the bomb squadron a part of the team.

"We are going to be here during some of the holidays, and already, the families of Andersen AFB have invited us to events and into some of their homes, so in advance I thank them for that," he said.

This is Colonel Chamberlain's second time to Guam, but his first in supporting the Continuous Bomber Presence.

"Some of the folks have been here three and even four times," he said. "The Continuous Bomber Presence has been here since 2004, we are excited to be here again," he said.

Capt. Greg Watson, 20th EBS chief of training and B-52 Stratofortress instructor radar navigator, is on his second deployment here supporting the Continuous Bomber Presence. He was apart of the initial deployment with the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

"We noticed when we first got here, even in 2004, this base was going through a lot of infrastructure improvements," Captain Watson said. "Everything from a new security forces building to the new base exchange. As far as the facility that we're in now, that has also changed quite a bit and for the better. I remember when we first got here that we were working in more austere conditions. There's been a lot more improvements over the years."

The chief of training said there will be a variety of training, which will take place while supporting the mission.

"One of the biggest, new technologies we are integrating with the B-52 is the Lightning Advanced Targeting Pod," he said. "That training will be going on throughout our deployment with the goal of getting all our crews qualified on it. Other than that, we have pilots and copilots who will be either upgrading to aircraft commander or preparing to go through our instructor program."

The captain said radar navigators and electronic warfare officers will also continue in upgrade training in order to continue moving forward in their flight career.

Two-thirds of the Airmen who deployed from Barksdale AFB are responsible for the maintenance of the B-52 Stratofortress.

Senior Master Sgt. Everett Spells, 20th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit lead production superintendent, oversees the Airmen who work on the six aircraft deployed here with the team.

"As a maintenance unit, we are here to provide air worthy aircraft for aircrews to be able to support the missions they are called to complete," Sergeant Spells said. "The maintenance we have and will continue to accomplish includes providing daily pre-flights to ensure the aircraft are air worthy and recovery of the aircraft, which includes anything from refueling, any write-ups the aircrew might have had or maintenance write-ups from tire to engine changes."

Sergeant Spells said the goal for the maintainers is to safely get all aircraft in the air on time.

"That's always our goal whether here, or any other location," he said.

The production lead superintendent said there are many Airmen on their first deployment.

"A lot of our maintenance guys here are brand new," he said. "They're in the middle of upgrade training, so this is the perfect opportunity, especially for my crew chiefs to experience a real crew chief system. They are dedicated to the airplane, and they can get their upgrade training, and not just crew chiefs, but all maintainers. It's the perfect environment to get the training they need without the normal distraction that comes with being at home."

The Barksdale Airmen are expected to be here for four months until the next rotation of bombers replaces them.

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