Three U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortresses returned to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, on 21st December, after executing 15 sorties near Australia and in the South China Sea in conjunction with forces from U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. European Command and Australia in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s bomber assurance and deterrence mission.
During a two-week deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, the B-52s integrated with B-1B Lancers assigned to U.S. PACOM’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for joint and combined operations.
Also during the deployment, the B-52s joined other U.S. forces and Australian military partners to conduct exercise Phoenix Black, offering coalition training opportunities and enhancing interoperability.
Forces who participated include the B-52Hs, B-1Bs, F-15C Eagles, KC-135 Stratotankers, C-5 Galaxies, C-17 Globemaster IIIs, E-3 Sentry, RC-135 Rivet Joints as well as U.S. Army and Marine Corps ground parties with attached Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, and Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and JTACs, encompassing more than 70 sorties.
After military exercises with the Australians, the B-52s teamed up with other U.S. forces to conduct joint operations in the South China Sea.
The routine small force training sortie included a B-52H, two B-1Bs, four F-15Cs and the USS Mustin, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer currently assigned to U.S. Pacific Fleet. Seven tanker aircraft operating from several forward operating locations supported the mission.