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Mission complete: Spirits return to Missouri after BTF rotation

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt Allen Palmer
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Three B-2 Spirit bombers and approximately 150 Airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, departed after completing their deployment supporting U.S. Strategic Command’s Bomber Task Force (BTF) mission here Jan. 31, 2019.

U.S. Strategic Command bombers regularly rotate through the region to conduct U.S. Indo-Pacific Command-led air operations, providing deterrent options to help maintain regional stability.

"The level of readiness we ask of our forces can only be sustained through rigorous and consistent operations, training and exercises," said Col. Max Marosko III, deputy director of air and cyberspace operations, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces. "B-2 Spirits' deployment here proves the strategic flexibility of the airframe to project power from anywhere in the world.”

This was the second deployment of the B-2s to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPH-H), Hawaii. Airmen were able to take the lessons learned from the August 2018 deployment to improve their training opportunities during recent BTF missions.

“It is important for the B-2 to establish that it can fight from multiple locations” said Lt. Col. Schoeneberg, 393rd Bomb Squadron commander. “Our efforts allow us to hold at risk our adversaries’ most valued targets despite their geographic location or endeavors to deny us access.”

During the B-2s deployment to JBPH-H, the bombers flew 37 sorties for a total of 171 hours in multiple local and long-duration missions, conducted hot-pit refueling training and accomplished eight integrated sorties with the Hawaii Air National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptors.

“Getting to work with the F-22s and all the other assets out here has been amazing,” Schoeneberg continued. “It is quite encouraging to see us build those relationships and bolster our abilities.”

The fifth generation integration and training helped integrate the two stealth aircraft aircrews and demonstrated the U.S. commitment to the region.

“Bringing the global reach and stealth capabilities of the B-2 to the Pacific is a visible demonstration of PACAF’s commitment to our allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces,” said Marosko. “Being postured for the future is about sharpening our lethality and improving our interoperability, staying ready to fight tonight should we be required to do so.”