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B-52s lead joint training across Hawaiian Islands

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, secure and prepare A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft after arriving aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 11, 2019.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, secure A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft after arriving at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 11, 2019. The unit participated in a training exercises with joint terminal air controllers, B-52H Stratofortress bombers, along with U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z helicopters and U.S. Army forward observers on Hawaii. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jesus Sepulveda Torres)

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, lands at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 11, 2019.

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, lands at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 11, 2019. The unit participated in a training exercises with joint terminal air controllers, B-52H Stratofortress bombers, along with U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z helicopters and U.S. Army forward observers on Hawaii. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jesus Sepulveda Torres)

A B-52 Stratofortress bomber from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base (AFB), North Dakota, sits on the flightline at Andersen AFB, Guam, Jan. 15, 2019.

A B-52 Stratofortress bomber from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base (AFB), North Dakota, sits on the flightline at Andersen AFB, Guam, Jan. 15, 2019. The bombers from Minot will assume responsibility for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission from the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

Air and ground force elements came together across the Hawaiian Islands this week to jointly participate in close air support (CAS) training with U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

Conducted on Feb. 11 and 13, the training involved USAF joint terminal air controllers, the bombers and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, along with U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z helicopters and U.S. Army forward observers operating on Oahu and Hawaii’s Pohakuloa Training Area.

In addition to strengthening the skills of the Airmen, Marines and Soldiers in the field and sky, the missions tested JBPH-H’s 613th Air Operations Center’s (AOC) ability to command and control joint forces over a large geographic distance.

“These are dynamic missions with multiple, unique moving parts,” said Col. Jason Rueschhoff, 613th AOC commander. “It is a testament to the professionalism and skill of our joint AOC warriors that they orchestrate all of these forces together from an initial planning cell to the operations floor for execution. This training enabled U.S. Air Force and Joint Forces a realistic, multi-domain approach to tackle complex and emerging challenges.”

The bombers flew to the Hawaiian Islands from Guam as part of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence initiative. In addition to increasing the capabilities of the aircrew, these sorties demonstrate U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s ability to mitigate the geographical challenges of distance unique to the Indo-Pacific region.

“The integration of the B-52 into this exercise creates training opportunities for everyone involved,” said Maj. Christopher “DASH” Curtis, 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS) liaison officer. “The B-52 brings unique capabilities to the CAS fight. Flying a long duration sortie across the Pacific to deliver weapons in a CAS scenario highlights just one of those capabilities. This exercise provides an effective training environment for the Bomber Barons but maybe more importantly it demonstrates the unique capability of the B-52 to deliver effects anywhere at any time”. 

The 23rd EBS is currently deployed from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence operations, which have been ongoing since March 2004. This recent mission is consistent with international law and United States’ long-standing commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.