Deployed bomb squadron completes seventh global power sortie
By Airman 1st Class Erica Stewart, 36th Operations Group Public Affairs
/ Published January 28, 2008
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed B-2 Spirit bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., took off late in the evening on Jan. 17 in support of a global power mission to Alaska.
"A Polar lightning mission, a global power mission to Alaska, is the longest training mission we fly from Guam," said Maj. Steve Sims, 393rd EBS mission planning cell team chief.
"It closely represents the many time zone changes and includes daytime and night air refueling."
Unlike other Polar lighting sorties, this mission had to be scheduled around Alaska's limited winter daylight hours.
"Alaska only has four hours of daylight right now and we have to drop our bombs during daylight hours to allow the range cameras to clear the target area and allow for accurate scoring of our bombs," Major Sims said.
"We prefer to drop during the daytime so the observers can tell us how close we dropped our bombs to the target."
Since being deployed to Andersen on Oct. 5, the 393rd EBS has successfully completed two polar lightning sorties as well as five additional global power sorties.
"Polar Lightning missions are specific to Alaska and are flown in order to showcase the global reach of our bomber force and give our crews a tremendous training opportunity," said Col. Damian McCarthy, 36th Operations Group commander.
"These missions allow us to train like we fight by allowing our crews to experience the pacing, battle rhythm, and human factors issues encountered on a long duration combat sortie."
The global power missions, which are more than 20 hours long, demonstrate the global strike capability of America's bomber force and prepare the pilots bodies for long duration missions.
"These missions prepare the crew members for the fatigue and stress they will encounter during a long duration combat mission from the continental United States or deployed location to hold enemy targets at risk anywhere in the world," Major Sims said.
"Pilots take turns and follow a regimented sleep schedule to combat fatigue and stay mentally prepared for the key points in the mission."
Polar Lightning training missions not only help the pilots prepare their bodies for long duration real-world missions but also demonstrate the B-2 Spirit's combination of stealth, long range, large payload and precision weaponry.
Having flown combat sorties in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, the B-2 Spirit is now routinely used on rotational deployments under the Air Force Expeditionary Force constructs preserving peace and deterrence in the Western Pacific.