13th EBS arrives at Andersen, prepares for busy deployment

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mikal Canfield
  • Kenney Headquarters Public Affairs (Deployed)
Aircrew members and support personnel of the 13th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron arrived last week, ready for the opportunities that lie ahead during their two-month deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The 13th EBS replaces the 393rd EBS, who returned to Whiteman AFB, Mo., July 1 following completion of their deployment.
Both squadrons are deployed here to provide the U.S. Pacific Command commander a continuous bomber presence in the region and help maintain stability and provide security for the Asia-Pacific region.
“The 13th EBS deployed to Andersen to continue the bomber presence in the Pacific,” said Lt. Col. Bill Eldridge, 13th EBS commander. “We replaced the 393rd EBS to allow them to return to Whiteman AFB so they can prepare for an upcoming inspection, and to share the operations tempo.”
While at Andersen, the primary mission of the 13th EBS will be to gain experience flying and generating aircraft from a forward-operating base, added Colonel Eldridge.
“Our training plan includes missions to a nearby bombing range, long-duration sorties throughout the theater, and joint exercises with the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, deployed here flying F-15Es from Elmendorf, Alaska,” he said. “We also are planning some exercises with the Royal Australian Air Force.”
The majority of the squadron’s Airmen arrived June 29-30, and the 13th EBS flew their first sorties July 5. There are challenges involved with flying so soon after arriving, but the squadron is focused on proving they are capable of deploying and flying missions immediately after arriving at a forward-deployed location.
“Employing shortly after deploying is an Air Force specialty,” said Lt. Col. Leonard D’Amico, 13th EBS director of operations. “We generally are ready to fight only hours after arriving at a forward deployed location. Flying shortly after deploying in peacetime is risky. To reduce the risk, we give our pilots a couple of days to adjust their circadian rhythm before our first flights.”
One of the things the squadron is looking forward to the most is the opportunity to work with Air Force mission partners also deployed to Andersen: the 90th EFS F-15E personnel aircrew members deployed here from Elmendorf and Air National Guard KC-135 air refueling aircraft.
“We can learn a lot from the F-15E crews because they employ nearly every weapon in the Air Force inventory and maintain proficiency in a variety of missions,” said Colonel Eldridge. “From our previous deployments, we learned a lot about the importance of air refueling. Because there are so few airfields in the region, we plan our fuel very carefully. We depend on the tankers to get the mission done.”
As with any deployment, two months at Andersen won’t be free of challenges and obstacles to overcome. Colonel Eldridge said th13th EBS will benefit from being the second squadron of B-2s to deploy.
“The 393rd EBS paved the way for our successful deployment,” said Colonel D’Amico. “The second squadron always benefits from the work of the previous units. Their work allowed us to shorten our advon time and to fly soon after arriving in theater.
“Not everything went as planned, but Capt. Jason Ceminsky (13th EBS C Flight commander) ‘led through’ all of our challenges and did an outstanding job ensuring the logistics went smoothly,” added Colonel Eldridge.
Colonel Eldridge said the biggest challenge during this deployment may be the weather, as typhoon season typically arrives in late summer and as a result, the squadron may lose training sorties. For this, he believes the maintainers of the 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron will save the day.
“Our maintenance has been fantastic and they will likely generate extra sorties to make up for any lost flying days,” he added. “We couldn’t fly a single sortie without the support of our outstanding maintenance personnel.”
The 36th EAMXS maintenance Airmen -- who have been here since April and will remain for the final two months of the B-2 deployment – look forward to working with the newly-arrived aircrew members.
“We’re used to working with both squadrons at our home station (Whiteman AFB, Mo.), so the transition from the 393rd to the 13th is an easy one for us,” said Master Sgt. Kelly Costa, 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent. “We’re not as familiar with the 13th EBS aircrew personnel because they just arrived, but all of our maintainers are looking forward to working with them and continuing the great work we’ve been doing here at Andersen since our arrival in April.”
The B-2 aircraft, aircrew members and support personnel – from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo. – are part of the continuing rotational bomber presence to provide the U.S. Pacific Command commander a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The B-2s are scheduled to remain at Andersen AFB through early September.