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Spirits set to soar over Pacific

by Tech. Sgt. Steven Wilson
36th Operations Group Public Affairs

10/17/2007 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFPN)  -- B-2 Spirits recently deployed here from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., are scheduled to fly their first missions over Guam in mid October as part of a continued bomber presence in the Pacific region.

The B-2s are at Andersen AFB to enhance regional security, demonstrate the nation's commitment to the Western Pacific and focus on integrated training opportunities.

"The B-2s are normally deployed in garrison," said Lt. Col. John Vitacca, the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. "For us, that means we are prepared to fly from Whiteman at any time to strike targets anywhere in the world in a moment's notice."

While Colonel Vitacca's squadron goes "wheels up" for the first time on this deployment, he said the first large-scale integration is during Exercise Koa Lightning in late October over Hawaii.

The Koa Lightning operations demonstrate the Air Force's unique capability to strike an adversary anywhere on the globe. The B-2s will take off from Guam, refuel with a tanker deployed from the Ohio Air National Guard, engage their targets over the bombing range in Hawaii, and then return to Andersen AFB. These sorties are about 20-hours long.

"This exercise will provide good training for our crews as they drop weapons and integrate with ground forces at the Pohakuloa Training Area," Colonel Vitacca said.

"I'm glad to see the B-2 operation up and running," said Col. Damian McCarthy, the 36th Operations Group commander. "We have a great opportunity to practice joint operations across the board with a truly unique bomber. I'm looking forward to fully integrating the B-2s into the 36th Wing."

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