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Reserve and active duty squadrons fly together in joint exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Art Webb
  • 36th Operations Group Public Affairs
Two bomb squadrons, one active duty and one from the reserve - both assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., - used Andersen as an operational staging platform during Valiant Shield to test their ability to work together as part of a joint warfighting force.
The 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed to Andersen on an Air Expeditionary Force rotation, shared tactics, facilities and Andersen's flightline with the 93rd Bomb Squadron, a reserve unit, during the exercise.
The bomb squadrons worked along side of U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and other Air Force units in the joint exercise which ended Aug. 14. Valiant Shield brought nearly 22,000 military members, 285 aircraft and 50 ships, including three aircraft carriers, to Guam.
"Valiant Shield provided our crews an excellent opportunity to experience tactical situations in a joint environment," said Lt. Col. Thomas Hesterman, 20th EBS commander, regarding the overall purpose of the exercise. "We were given the rare opportunity to work with the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and our reserve forces with one goal in mind, getting bombs on target and on time."
The 20th EBS used the opportunity to enhance communications and command and control with other military services as well as train with their reservist counterparts.
The 93rd BS, a component of the 917th Wing, joined forces with their active duty counterparts to demonstrate global power by exercising the long-range strike capability and flexibility of the B-52.
One of their tasks was to combine forces and eliminate a single target.
"It is unusual for two B-52s to get together to drop on a single target," said Lt. Col. William Floyd, 93rd BS radar navigator. "We do not get the opportunity to perform buddy lasing tactics often. This is something that is being developed presently. The valuable information collected while flying in Valiant Shield will come into consideration as we figure out how to best employ it."
"There was a lot to gain from Valiant Shield," added Colonel Floyd. "Working with the active duty unit provided us an opportunity to work with a squadron that perform tasks differently than we do."
Both squadrons agree teamwork was the key to mission success.
"I think that it's phenomenal that the reserve and active duty units can come together and work so efficiently," said 1st Lt. Bryson Ayers, 20th EBS navigator. "The capabilities they bring to the fight are exceptional."
"Its great to be a part of the synergistic effect of combining the reserve and active duty skill sets during such a large scale exercise," added Capt. John Saunders, 20th EBS, mission planning cell team chief for the Valiant Shield exercise. "The seamless integration between the reserve and active duty units is truly impressive. This has been a great opportunity to see the aircrews mesh and get the mission done."

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