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Stratofortresses deploy to Pacific, support continuous bomber presence

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erica Stewart
  • 36th Operations Group Public Affairs
Airmen from the 96th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. and their B-52 Stratofortress bombers arrived in Guam this week to begin a four-month deployment.

The Louisiana-based aircraft, aircrew, support and maintenance personnel replaced the Whiteman AFB, Mo. personnel who redeployed home as part of a scheduled rotation of bomber units. The rotational bomber presence at Andersen has been occurring for more than three years as the Pacific Command adjusts its force posture to maintain a prudent deterrent capability.

"The rotational bomber presence is aimed at enhancing regional security, demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Western Pacific, and providing integrated training opportunities," said Col. Damien MaCarthy, 36th Operations Group commander.

"The U.S. Pacific Command is committed to promoting peace and security in the region, I'm pleased to see the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, the 'Red Devils', return to Andersen and I expect them to continue to showcase our ability to expertly employ long range combat power throughout the Pacific," he said.

With six B-52's and approximately 274 Airmen deployed here through June, the 96th EBS is wasting no time showcasing their flying mission.

Even as the first B-52s arrived here from the Eastern U.S., planning is already underway for local and long duration sorties.

"We have already planned our first sortie on Feb. 26," said Lt. Col. Patrick Matthew, 96th EBS commander. "Flying is what the Red Devils are here to do."

The rotation of U.S. forces enhances operational access to train forward-deployed and forward-based combat forces, and increases interoperability with partner nations, according to PACOM officials.

"We will continue to assure our allies that we will work with them to deter aggression in this area of responsibility while honing our combat skills," Colonel Matthews said.

These missions are the heart of the 96th EBS, according to Colonel Matthew.

"Our mission is to demonstrate U.S. Commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," he said. "It also provides an increased capability to respond to any military threat or crisis."

The United States has a number of important relationships in the Pacific region, and PACOM has taken significant steps to strengthen its operational presence and interoperability with regional partners.

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