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US Air Force B-1B bombers return to Guam for task force missions

B-1B Lancer bombers return to Guam
A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, taxis through a clean water wash station at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Oct. 18, 2022. Photo: US Air Force

US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers landed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on October 18 for a second round of operations from the US island territory in Micronesia.

This is the second time Andersen welcomed the Lancers for a Bomber Task Force mission this year, with the first one taking place in June.

During the first mission, four B-1s conducted a multitude of missions, including aerial integration with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and a hot pit refueling operation with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at RAAF Base Darwin, a B-1B Lancer first.

Two B-1B Lancers from the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, prepare to park at Andersen Air Force Base, Oct. 18, 2022. Photo: US Air Force

This time, the Lancers will partner with more allies for several training missions in the Indo-Pacific.

“Bomber Task Force deployments and missions provide key assurances and cooperation with joint and partner allies in the region,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Mount, 37th Bomb Squadron director of operations. “The B-1 is an especially capable platform in this region, being able to travel large distances and bear significant firepower with precision and standoff munitions.”

These missions support the 2018 National Defense Strategy objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability, enabling strategic bombers to operate forward from a broad array of overseas and continental US locations with greater operational resilience.

“This Bomber Task Force demonstrates continued US commitment to the Pacific,” said Col. Joseph Sheffield, 28th Bomb Wing commander. “Not only does it provide our B-1 aircrew invaluable training opportunities with important Allies and partners, but it also signals our nation’s unwavering support to them. At the same time, BTFs like this one play a critical role in deterring potential adversaries and challenging their decision calculus.

The mission will also enhance readiness for a variety of Air Force career-fields, training Airmen to respond to any potential crisis or challenge in the Indo-Pacific. These career-fields work simultaneously, often across disciplines, to complete the mission.

“Our maintenance professionals will be responsible for preparing, maintaining, and launching B-1s for long duration missions across the AOR,” said Mount. “Our support personnel will be ensuring that our logistics bed-down, cargo, planning networks, flight records and medical requirements run seamlessly. Lastly, our aircrew will fly and integrate across several multi-national exercises to sharpen their warfighting skills specific to the region.”