JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined their counterparts from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces in sequenced bilateral missions, August 7.
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 Continuous Bomber Presence missions.
After taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-1s assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, 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 where they 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 AFB, North Dakota, and Barksdale AFB, 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 EBS B-1 pilot. “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 our continued ironclad commitment to regional allies. Further, it increased our readiness and exercised our rights under international law to fly legally in the place and time of our choosing.