ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
Approximately 350 Airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in support of Continuous Bomber Presence operations occurring in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region July 28.
The deployment of U.S. Air Force bombers to the Pacific area of responsibility has been ongoing since March 2004 as a demonstration of America’s commitment to the security and stability of the region.
“Our intent is to assure our allies that we care about the stability in the region,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Diehl, commander of the 37th Bomb Squadron. “For our potential adversaries, we have a credible threat deterrent if they try to upset the balance of [the Pacific], we have the ability to respond.”
This is the second time Ellsworth deployed Airmen and B-1 bombers in support of CBP operations.
Previously, Ellsworth had been deploying to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility for more than 10 years. In 2016 it was directed to join the CBP in the U.S. Pacific Command. This change in scenery and allies offers a few benefits.
“The benefit of this deployment is that it opens the aperture for our Airmen,” Diehl said. “Operating in [PACOM] is different than operating in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. There’s a lot of players we’re not used to dealing with.”
The bomber rotations supporting the CBP mission provide the U.S. and its allies with a means of highlighting the importance of joint interoperability through training, exercises and overall integration of deployed forces.
“[Interoperability] is extremely important anytime you’re going to a joint operation,” said Capt. Creighton, a B-1 bomber pilot assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron. “You have to make sure everyone is on the same page, looking at interoperability in terms of communications systems and what every asset can bring to the fight.”
It is a strategic bomber that combines speed, maneuverability and the largest conventional payload, up to 75,000 pounds, in the Air Force to combat any adversary.
“The B-1 is a long-range strike platform,” Creighton said. “Dealing with the vastness of the Pacific is something it is well suited for. It also brings a very large payload, and a lot of combat experience and capability that’s been built up in CENTCOM over the last 15 years.”
Ellsworth is taking the baton from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, who have been deployed since February 2017.
Airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., process through a deployment line prior to boarding a C-5M Super Galaxy bound for Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in support of Continuous Bomber Presence operations in the Pacific theater, July 22, 2017. Ellsworth takes the baton from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, as the B-1 Bomber operators in the Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)