Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers recently flew from South Dakota to Guam for a 10-hour mission meant to show North Korea that the U.S. and its allies are ready in the Pacific Theater.
— PACAF (@PACAF) August 8, 2017
The two B-1B Lancers, assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS), deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and flew from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam for a 10-hour mission.
They flew in the vicinity of Kyushu, Japan, the East China Sea and the Korean peninsula this week.
During the mission, the B-1s were joined by Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15s and Republic of Korea Air Force KF-16 fighter jets, and they performed two sequential bilateral missions, according to Pacific Air Forces.
The flights with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) demonstrate solidarity between Japan, the ROK and the U.S. to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater.
This serves as the first mission for the crews and aircraft recently deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s (PACOM) Continuous Bomber Presence missions.
After taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-1s flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force) F-2 fighter jets. The B-1s then flew over the Korean Peninsula and were joined by Republic of Korea Air Force KF-16 fighter jets. The B-1s then performed a pass over the Pilsung Range before leaving South Korean airspace and returning to Guam.
Throughout the approximately 10-hour mission, the aircrews practiced intercept and formation training, enabling them to enhance their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the long-standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Ellsworth B-1s were last deployed to Guam in August 2016, when they took over CBP operations from the B-52 Stratofortress bomber squadrons from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
“How we train is how we fight, and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight,” said a 37th B-1 pilot, according to Pacific Air Forces. “The B-1 is a long-range bomber that is well-suited for the maritime domain and can meet the unique challenges of the Pacific.”
Aircrews, maintenance and support personnel will continue generating B-1 bomber sorties to demonstrate the continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, providing commanders with a strategic power projection platform and fulfilling the need for anytime mission-ready aircraft, an important part of national defense during a time of high regional tension.
“While at home station, my crews are constantly refining their tactics and techniques so that we can better integrate with our counterparts from other nations,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Diehl, 37th EBS Commander. “As demonstrated today, our air forces stand combat-ready to deliver airpower when called upon.”
The U.S. has maintained a regular bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific since 2004 and this mission demonstrated the nation’s continued ironclad commitment to regional allies.
Further, it increased the United States’ readiness and exercised its rights under international law to fly legally in the place and time of its choosing.