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B-2 Stealth Bomber is grounded for Rose Parade; Here’s Plan B (1)

A B-1B Lancer taxis on the flightline after completing a Continental United States to Continental United States joint Large Force Exercise alongside the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 11, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Hayman)

A long-standing tradition in Pasadena’s Rose Parade will pause in 2023 while safety concerns ground B-2 bombers in the region.

The prestigious B-2 Stealth Bomber, which annually signifies the start of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day, will not participate in the upcoming Rose Parade or Rose Bowl Game flyovers scheduled for Jan. 2.

Four B-1B Lancers from 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron arrive Feb. 6, 2017, at Andersen AFB, Guam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Richard P. Ebensberger)

Instead, Missouri-based Whiteman Air Force Base officials announced Friday, Dec. 16, B-1B Lancer Bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota will flyover to mark the moment.

The change stems from “a safety pause,” officials said, that will allow base personnel to inspect the fleet after a Dec. 10 incident in which a B-2 Spirit was damaged on the runway at Whiteman AFB after successfully completing an emergency landing.

“We deeply regret having to make this decision so close to the event,” U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Diehl said in a news release, noting the top concern of military leaders is the safety and security of their personnel and fleet.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Bomb Squadron takes off from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 8, 2018. (RIVER BRUCE/U.S. AIR FORCE)

“Although we are not participating in this flyover, we remain steadfast in our commitment to answer our nation’s call,” Diehl added. The Air Force also remains committed to returning the B-2 to Pasadena in 2024.

When spectators look to the sky this year, however, the B-1B Lancer, what officials say is a critical flying machine in the Air Force’s strategic bomber fleet, will be the plane representing the nation and carrying on the bomber tradition at the Tournament of Roses.

Pasadena Tournament of Roses leaders said they are honored to know the U.S. Air Force will once again soar over the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, continuing an iconic tradition.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer from the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, to refuel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cynthia Belío)


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