Air Frame: Capt. Matthew Gray (right) and 1st Lt. Reed Elsbernd fly a B-52H Stratofortress over Fort Polk, La., during a Green Flag East training exercise, Aug. 21, 2013. These airmen and their machine are assigned to the 20th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale, AFB, La. (Air Force photo by SSgt. Jonathan Snyder)The same email has a related story: Barksdale crewmen, maintainers, and aircraft have left Louisiana on a rotation to Guam. When the President or the Secretary of Defense talks about "shifting our defense posture", it has very real consequences for the people at the sharp end of the stick.
"As we know, the United States has done a strategic pivot toward the Pacific," said Lt. Col. Scott Maytan, 20th BS commander. "Strategic continuous bomber presence is part of that. It is a way for B-52s to augment military forces that we have in the theater."It's easy to overlook the activities of our military around the world while we fixate on hotspots like Syria. The bomber rotation described above has been going on since 2004, largely out of the public eye, barring accidents or incidents. That doesn't mean other eyes aren't watching - which is the point as much as anything.
The continuous bomber presence showcases the 2nd Bomb Wing's ability to operate aircraft within the Pacific and support exercises, operations, and contingencies as required.
"We own 50 percent of the responsibility for this, it is shared across the B-52 community, so that's a big piece for the 2nd BW to support," Maytan said. "It's a full spectrum effort--we've got aircrew, airplanes, maintenance support and other operations support personnel that go out to make sure we are able to do the mission just like we would do it with the resources we have here at home."
The Air Force's nuclear and conventional precision strike forces can credibly threaten and effectively conduct global strike by holding any target at risk and if necessary, disabling or destroying it promptly--the key to Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power.
Best wishes to the Barksdale people rotating out to Guam, and welcome back and thanks to the Minot crews coming home from their rotation. Considering that the newest B-52 is 50 years old (51 in October!), perhaps they should all get honorary memberships in this organization. ;-) Outstanding job, people.