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Bombers drop sea mines to end deployment

by Staff Sgt. Stephen Teel
36th Wing Public Affairs

6/19/2008 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFPN) -- B-52 Stratofortress bombers dropped 162 inert sea mines 80 miles off Guam's south coast during a recent training exercise to finish a four-month rotation to the Pacific island.

Aircrews from the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron dropped the MK-62 sea mines on strategic spots to deter "enemy forces" from using particular seaports, harbors or ocean ways.

Once in place, mines would destroy ships and submarines. Sea-faring vessels would avoid a mined seaway or port, ensuring safety to American assets and those of their allies in the region.

The Navy makes the mines, said Lt. Col. Patrick Matthews, the 96th EBS squadron commander.

"Like any military operation and training mission, this one, too, requires a great amount of teamwork," he said.

The Navy's Mobile Mine Assembly Unit Eight on Guam manufacture the MK-62 sea mines. After the Air Force orders mines, the Sailors arrange for delivery. At Andersen Air Force Base, Airmen load the mines onto the aging bombers for delivery.

"You will never get a great product without military teamwork," said Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Steven Jones, a mine specialist. "Since both services are on this island, we have a process in place with the Air Force team at Andersen to provide a quick turn around (of mines). Our relationship has only gotten better."

The colonel said the Air Force-Navy team works hard to ensure the safety and security of "our ports and harbors."

"The 96th EBS is dedicated to working with the other services and U.S. allies to ensure there is security and stability in the Pacific region," the colonel said.

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