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The Future of the Warbirds

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zachary Wright
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

In 1919, during the infancy of military aviation, the 2nd Observation group was founded on Aug. 15 at Luke Field in the Territory of Hawaii. In 1921, the group was re-designated as the 5th Observation Group, flying the DeHaviland DH-4 aircrafts. Now, nearly a century later, the 5th Bomb Wing and their fleet of B-52H Stratofortresses assume the mantel of “Guardians of the Upper Realm,” continuing their storied legacy.

“This is the most strategic installation in the Department of Defense,” said Col. Walters.

“I can assure you folks, right now the world is watching. Adversaries and allies alike are watching what Minot Air Force Base does. It watches as we reassure our allies and deter our adversaries and because of that unblinking eye, every day this wing executes its primary mission. A no-fail mission. And in these last 2 years, I’ve seen you answer the call time and time again.”

Col. Walters assumed command of the 5th Bomb Wing in July of 2020 and since then has lead the Bomb Wing to several achievements, including 10 Air Force-level awards, 108 Air Force Global Strike Command-level awards, the first sub-zero temperature generation in 15 years and the 2020 Brigadier General Frederick W. Castle Memorial award as the top Strategic Bomber Wing.

“Teammates, you set the standard for others to follow,” said Walters. “Simply put, you showed others what right looks like; pride and professionalism that’s second to none. So every Warbird operator, maintainer, defender, first responder, engineer and support services personnel, your selfless acts, your grit and determination, are truly awe inspiring. You are the personification of ‘Only The Best Come North’.”

On June 23rd, 2022, Col. Walters relinquished command of the 5th Bomb Wing to Col. Daniel S. Hoadley and with it, the Wing’s 5.4 billion dollar nuclear stockpile, 28 B-52s and the Department of Defense’s largest personnel reliability assurance program.

“Warbirds, we share a weighty responsibility,” said Hoadley.

“In an era of great power competition, the nation expects us to provide global strategic deterrence indefinitely… it’s a tall order for sure. But we must do this. We can do this. We will do this. Because only the Best Come North.”

The global strategic bomber presence mission is one of the Air Force and Department of Defense’s most crucial missions, ensuring our allies that we are both willing and able to decisively strike anywhere in the world at any time. The Airmen of the 5th Bomb Wing now look to Col. Hoadley to carry on their already successful legacy and with that, pledge that they are ready to execute lethal global strike tonight & every night.