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Bomber surge largest since Operation Linebacker II

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steve Teel
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed to Andersen AFB, flew surge missions launching six of its B-52s for large scale training flights Thursday and Friday setting the stage for future operations.

The training mission allowed the crewmembers to practice more than the standard two-ship deconfliction plan while maintaining situational awareness of the battlefield, other players and weapons, according to the Andersen officials.

"This is the first time six B-52 Stratofortresses have taken off from Andersen for this type of mission since Operation Linebacker II," said Brig. Gen. Philip Ruhlman, 36th Wing Commander. "Missions such as these demonstrate our commitment to protecting the resources of the United States and our allies while helping maintain stability in the Pacific region."

The two-day large-scale surge demonstrated the Air Forces capabilities to activate heavy air support at a moment's notice, according to the 20th EBS.

To put it into perspective, imagine a standard two-ship B-52 formation sortie and multiply the number of jets and weapons by three. According to B-52 pilots the result is a highly-effective formation. During the surge, the bombers flew more than 60 hours and simulated launching Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles and Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles on simulated targets.

"Recent history has shown large formations of aircraft are used at the onset of most conflicts such as Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Capt. Jason Grubaugh, 20th EBS weapons and tactics chief. "The goal of this surge mission is to simulate large formation global strike capabilities in a robust threat environment allowing us to train the way we fight making us better aviators and operators."