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    Bomber Task Force in Europe showcases future of strategic deterrence



    Story by Airman Jacob Wrightsman 

    2nd Bomb Wing

    BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- American bombardment has played a significant role in nearly every major American conflict since it’s conception in World War I, and in order to meet today’s challenges, the Air Force has evolved it’s way of training and deploying bombing capabilities.

    Continuing the evolution of training, Airmen from Barksdale in conjunction with the 501st Combat Support Squadron showcased the newest installment of training in the advancement of the Air Force’s ability to deliver a decisive response with a resilient, equipped and trained combat-ready force, the Bomber Task Force mission in Europe.

    “One of the objectives of this BTF was to see if we could pick up our wing, send it somewhere, and see if it can operate independently on it’s own,” said Col. Michael Miller, 2nd Bomb Wing commander. “They crushed it, absolutely crushed it.”

    The predecessor to BTF were the Bomber Assurance and Deterrence missions, whose objectives were to train with our allies to assure them of U.S. commitment and to have a visible presence to deter our adversaries.

    “There were two different ways to do those missions,” Miller said. “Either take a force and deploy it forward for a small period of time or you could do a CONUS to CONUS mission where you take off from Barksdale, show force and show presence and then land.”

    The new BTF mission not only deploys bomber forces around the world, but also brings a fully combat capable force into a combatant commander’s theatre.

    “It’s no longer just to go partner with our NATO allies, or to go over and have a visible presence of American air power,” Miller said. “That’s part of it, but we are also there to drop weapons if called to do so.”

    That presence of a deadly war-fighting force becomes increasingly lethal when coupled with Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David L. Goldfein’s vision of a rapidly deployable wing as opposed to deploying only the aviation components of bomber capabilities.

    “General Goldfein has challenged wing commanders to have the capability to take their wings, pick them up, deploy them to an austere location and fight as a wing independently,” Miller said.

    “It’s different than what we’ve done at Al Udeid, where we bring airplanes, aviators and maintainers on to a base that is fully built out.” said Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander. “Yes, there is a good support network here, but we are bringing that wing construct and bringing all the support organizations together and fighting as an entire unit at a much broader level.”

    Complementing the flying component of bomber forces with a proficient ground force has made waves around the world, and that impact is no more evident than the recent BTF mission to RAF Fairford, England.

    “When we show up in town with 450 Airmen and six B-52’s and start flying three to five lines a day non-stop in the European theater, that raises the eyebrows of our adversaries,” Miller said. “We most definitely made an impact on our adversaries while we were over there.”

    From the turning of wrenches on the flight line, to the broadcasting of command messages, each Airman played a vital role in meeting the Air Force’s strategic objectives.

    “I love seeing how my role plays into the bigger picture,” said Senior Airman Sterling Q. Untal, 2nd BW command post controller. “We are all one team, one fight just doing the job that we came to do.”

    With the goal of reaching our adversaries anytime, anywhere, the BTF missions will become the future of how bomber forces will train and be deployed.

    “I think that this [Bomber Task Force] is going to set the stage for future
    operations because we need to be lethal and agile,” Dawkins added. “And to be lethal right now we need to be agile, that’s agile combat support, agile deployability and that’s deploying in small units like a six ship like we did here.”

    As the Air Force continues to evolve to include more agile deployability and more lethal combat support, the Bomber Task Force will be the training vessel that carries the bomber mission to meet the challenges of tomorrow providing an unmatched global advantage as an equal member of the joint team.



    Date Taken: 04.19.2019
    Date Posted: 04.19.2019 10:33
    Story ID: 318796

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