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B-1 bomber officially takes over CBP mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The B-1B Lancer officially replaced the B-52 Stratofortress in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission Aug. 15, during a Transfer of Authority ceremony.

Lt. Col. Jeremy Holmes, 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, relinquished authority to Lt. Col. Seth Spanier, 34th EBS commander from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.

“The 34th stands ready to provide a tangible assurance to allies and partners in the region and a clear deterrent to potential adversaries,” Spanier said. “Above all else, we will provide the capability to rapidly transition to major combat operations on a massive scale, if ordered.”

The B-1 units bring a unique perspective and years of repeated combat and operational experience from the U.S. Central Command Theater to the Pacific. They will provide a significant rapid global strike capability that enables our readiness and commitment to deterrence, offers assurance to our allies, and strengthens regional security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

B-1s were last here in April 2006 and have returned to support USPACOM in conducting routine, strategic deterrence and regional training missions. Incorporating the B-1 into Pacific operations exercises USPACOM’s ability to integrate a unique capability with regional allies and partners in a different part of the world.

“The unique thing about our opportunities here as part of the continuous bomber presence is we really have the opportunity to train across all of the mission sets that the B-1 is capable of,” Spanier said. “So we will routinely, on a day-in and day-out basis, get to train with the land, air and naval forces of both the U.S. and our allies and partners in the region. It's really an unmatched training opportunity for our squadron."

The deployment brings more than 300 Airmen who are trained and ready to ensure the performance of the B-1. The B-1B’s superior handling, substantial payload, excellent radar targeting system, long loiter time and survivability make it a very capable combatant commander platform.

B-52s have served non-stop rotations since 2006, which have been shared between the bomber squadrons from Minot AFB, North Dakota, and Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

During this rotation, the 69th EBS worked in concert with F-16 fighter aircraft from the 112th Fighter Squadron from Toledo Air Guard Base, Ohio, where they developed tactics, techniques and procedures for defensive Guam concepts of operation. The squadron also participated in various exercises such as exercise Pitch-Black and Rim of Pacific in Hawaii and Australia. Between the major exercises, the team conducted freedom of navigation operations over the South and East China seas where they flew numerous missions with coalition partners from the Republic of Korea and Japanese Self Defense Air Force. Overall, the team flew 80 pacific power projection sorties, accumulating nearly 1700 flying hours.

Additionally, the 69th EBS conducted a first-ever live fire integration with the U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer, USS Spruance (DDG 111), which involved employing multiple munitions on the Farallon de Medinilla weapons range near Guam.

“Today we mark the end of an era of B-52s continuously operating here and patrolling the skies over the pacific area of responsibility,” said Col Samuel White, 36th Operations Group commander. “We also mark the beginning of a new era by bringing back the B-1 crews after they spent nearly a decade supporting combat operations and gaining necessary experience needed to perform and participate in this CBP mission.”

Air Force Global Strike Command continues to routinely deploy bombers to Guam, which provides opportunities to strengthen regional alliances and long-standing military-to-military partnerships.