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B-52 presence demonstrates global strike capabilities

by Staff Sgt. Stephen Teel
36th Wing Public Affairs

6/18/2008 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Personnel and B-52 Stratofortress bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., continue to provide a bomber presence here, helping maintain stability and provide security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Fellow Barksdale AFB Airmen from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron will now replace the aircraft, aircrew, support and maintenance members of the 96th EBS who will return home.

"Our mission here is to deter potential aggressors and add reassurance to our allies in the AOR, by demonstrating global strike capabilities," said Lt. Col. Patrick Matthews, the 96th EBS commander. "While here we train to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace."

"The U.S. Pacific Command is committed to promoting peace and security in the region...deploying B-52s to Guam is a big part of that effort," said Col. Damian McCarthy, the 36th Expeditionary Operations Group commander. "Both bomber squadrons are key players in the U.S. Air Force's mission, proving matchless combat power on time, anytime, anywhere."

While at Andersen AFB, the primary mission of the 20th EBS will be to gain experience flying and generating aircraft from a forward-operating base.

The rotational bomber presence at the base is aimed at enhancing regional security, demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Pacific region and providing integrated training opportunities for deployed Airmen.

"Andersen (AFB) is ideal as a main operating base for sustaining and projecting air power in support of America's defense strategy. It is strategically located, has an impressive fuel and munitions storage capability, exceptional Airmen and civilian employees and strong community support," Colonel McCarthy said.

Nine aircraft and approximately 350 Airmen will be deployed here through October. This will be the ninth rotation of B-52 bombers into the base since the current schedule began in 2004.

Movement of bombers into the Western Pacific has been ongoing since February 2003 as U.S. Pacific Air Command adjusted its force posture to maintain a prudent deterrent capability.

The outgoing 96th EBS team led the way in integrating the LITENING AT targeting pod into the theater; qualifying six crews on pod. The Airmen also used the B-52 Stratofortress bomber's range and versatility to train with the Royal Singapore air force on refueling missions and participated in air-intercept exercises with the U.S. Navy.

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