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Striker Airmen Ready and Postured: 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, a flexible force

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Heather R. Salazar
  • 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron

Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, along with more than 150 Airmen, civilians and contractors, arrived at Keflavik, Iceland, to participate in a series of Bomber Task Force missions to integrate operations with our Icelandic Allies and expand capabilities within the European region.

Bomber Task Force missions are critical to ensuring Air Force Global Strike Airmen are capable of executing operations at the direction of the national command authority. By training with NATO Allies, Airmen are familiarizing themselves within the European theater and arctic airspace to enhance enduring skills and further bilateral relationships with Allies. 

“The capacity to strategically position bomber assets in the European theater facilitates vital connections with NATO Allies and partners, fostering the advancement of a unified and cohesive operational force,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe, U.S. Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Command.

To confront the broad range of challenges within the European AOR and in support of the National Defense Strategy, it is critical for Striker Airmen and assets to be well versed in operating within other countries and integrating with our partners. 

“We are excited to be returning to Iceland and working with our Icelandic hosts,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andrew Kousgaard, 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. “There is simply no substitute for the hands-on integration with our allies and partners that we’re able to accomplish during a BTF deployment like this one, we’re excited to get to work.” 

The integration of U.S. and allied assets is essential to ensuring the security of the region.  

Currently, deterrence is a core element of NATO's overall strategy within the region. As NATO faces the most complex security environment since the end of the Cold War, it is essential for Allies to train together to strengthen interoperability, readiness, and joint resolve.  Bomber task force missions enable crews to integrate with Allies to achieve joint goals while validating our always-ready, global strike capability. 

“Our mission is to improve our interoperability with our allies and partners here in the (REGION),” added Kousgaard. "The B-2 is arguably the most strategically significant airplane in the world, but that doesn’t make it inflexible.  Dynamically deploying the B-2 forward is a unique and important capability, one that we’re sharpening during our time here.” 

U.S. Air Forces in Europe routinely hosts and supports a variety of U.S. Air Force aircraft and units for training to defend vital U.S. interests, deter aggression, and deepen relationships with Allies and partners by projecting combat-ready airpower in Europe.  

The 393rd EBS’s integration and training with Allies is designed to increase the interoperability capabilities of all participating units across Europe. Through this cooperation, Air Force Global Strike’s Airmen will become more agile and the B-2 more capable of responding to any challenge we and our NATO Allies face.