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Deployed Minot maintainers head home

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Hicks
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Maintainers supporting the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., in support of the continuous bomber presence in the Pacific are scheduled to return home at the end of the month after a successful deployment here.

The CBP is an ongoing U.S. Pacific Command mission to bolster America's commitment to the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region while allowing units to become familiar with operating in the theater from a deployed location.

"The Airmen's performance on this deployment has been incredible," said 1st Lt. Jeremy Guy, 23rd Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge. "They accomplished every task that came their way."

During the duration of the deployment, the maintenance unit generated more than 140 sorties and dropped approximately 950 munitions on training ranges by the end of the tour.

"We were able to drop a higher number of munitions on less sorties than we initially planned," Guy said. "This task has kept our weapon loaders extremely busy, but they performed well and got the job done."

Due to a decrease in scheduled flying hours as a result of sequestration-related budget cuts, the 23rd EAMU maintainers had a chance to refine their skills and catch up on routine maintenance for the B-52 Stratofortresses.

"As we arrived, the flying schedule began to slow down, which allowed Airmen to brush up on skills they normally wouldn't get a chance to because of the faster flying pace," said Master Sgt. John Quakkelaar, 23rd EAMU production superintendent. "Because of this training, we're returning to Minot with better maintainers."

He added how the unit has went above and beyond by continuously meeting seven out of the eight objectives set by Air Force Global Strike Command to evaluate its fleet. A feat like this is unheard of at home station.

The hard work of the 23rd EAMU Airmen was evident when the unit was able to generate a short-notice, national command authority-tasked B-52 Stratofortress sortie from Guam in March, highlighting the extended deterrence and conventional capabilities of the B-52 while participating in exercises.

"All the maintainers understand we're here in support of the CBP in the Pacific," Quakkelaar said. "So every time they step foot on the flightline they have the mindset that every sortie is real."

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