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Airmen and B-1B Lancers return to Ellsworth after completing Bomber Task Force 24-6

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Alejandra Angarita
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron returned to Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, June 25, 2024, following the successful completion of Bomber Task Force 24-6 at Andersen AFB, Guam. This mission, conducted with Allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, achieved significant milestones in strengthening partnerships and advancing strategic objectives.

Ongoing since 2020, Bomber Task Force missions allow U.S. Strategic Command to regularly test and evaluate the readiness of strategic assets, ensuring the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region while enhancing operational resilience.

The 37th EBS capitalized on opportunities to train in dynamic environments, supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's strategic objectives through integrated all-domain capabilities and mission support.

“The presence of B-1s, long-range strategic bombers, is a crucial demonstration of our commitment to the U.S. National Defense Strategy,” said Lt. Col. Christian Hoover, 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. “Training and operating in highly contested environments enable superior tactics, techniques, and procedures for our Joint and Combined Forces. We are confident in our ability to quickly deploy anytime, anywhere, conducting integrated deterrence to dissuade and defeat aggression.”

In addition to BTF objectives, the 37th EBS achieved groundbreaking success in munitions training and participated in the Valiant Shield 24 biennial exercise. B-1B Lancers alongside two Republic of Korea Air Force F-15Ks from the 11th Fighter Wing at Daegu Air Base, successfully released live GBU-38, 500-pound joint direct attack munitions, simultaneously striking multiple simulated targets. The exercise tested the ROK-U.S. combined close air support and precision strike capabilities and marked the first time the B-1B Lancer has conducted a live munitions drop on the Korean peninsula since 2017.

The squadron also integrated with the U.S. Navy in a sea mine-warfare exercise, releasing 35 Mk-62 Naval Quickstrike mines.

“The opportunities the 37th EBS had to collaborate in Guam allowed us to assess our capabilities, flexibility, and agility,” said Col. Derek Oakley, 28th Bomb Wing commander. “Our strategic bombers play a critical role in deterrence capabilities. The goal of the Bomber Task Force was to focus on integrating interoperability training in a multi-domain environment, and that’s exactly what they did. I am proud of the lessons learned and the end result, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our Airmen supporting the mission.”