B-1B Lancers rotate into Andersen
by Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo
Air Force Print News
The rotation was seamless for the 34th BS because they traded the rotation with another Ellsworth squadron, which left its bombers behind for them to use.
“The support we’ve received from Andersen has been fantastic, and I’m not just saying that. Everything has been fantastic,” said Lt. Col. Dana Powell, 34th deputy commander of operations.
Maintaining 24-hour operations in 12-hour shifts presents a new challenge for aircraft maintainers from South Dakota where the climate is completely different.
“Ellsworth is a dry climate, and it’s a damp environment here,” Tech. Sgt. Robert Mulder said. “The rain and salt air affects all the equipment.” The aerospace ground equipment technician maintains the equipment to keep it running and corrosion-free.
“It’s a good challenge. It keeps me busy, and I learn new things” said Tech. Sgt. Glen Rausch, one of two quality assurance inspectors here.
“Our goal is to get aircrews 100 percent combat-qualified while still maintaining a bomber presence in (the Pacific),” said Capt. David Black, aircraft maintenance unit officer in charge. “The jets are flying good and the aircrews are getting qualified.”
The 34th launches seven to 10 sorties a week.
With a good mix of combat and non-combat experienced crews, the squadron makes up a small community that offers great training for all involved.
“Being so isolated from Ellsworth allows us to draw on one another’s experiences,” Colonel Powell said.
“We’re a captured audience on Guam. You just can’t beat the training opportunities offered here. The mission profiles and sorties train our aircrew for combat opportunities,” he said.
One challenge has been the great distances they are forced to fly over the Pacific.
“The distances we fly also take some getting used to,” Colonel Powell said. “We want all of our crewmembers to have experienced at least one long-distance flight before being asked to do it in combat.”
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