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Raiders provide Continuous Bomber Presence, return from Pacific

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

Approximately 300 Airmen returned home to families and friends at Ellsworth Feb. 12, 2017, after a six month deployment to Guam supporting the U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission.

During the deployment, the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron flew a total of 242 sorties. The Airmen focused on conducting routine, strategic deterrence and regional training missions with U.S. sister services and allies, in a variety of settings.

“Our six-month deployment was a part of the Continuous Bomber Presence mission in the Pacific,” said Lt. Col. Seth Spanier, the commander of the 34th EBS. “We [conduct] these long duration, power projection missions for two reasons, to ensure our allies in the region and to deter potential adversaries.”

Once their chariot home pulled into position, the aircraft doors opened and the Airmen stepped onto the runway to be reunited with their friends and family.

“This was my first deployment and the first time I’ve been away from my family for six months,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Tennyson, a weapons load crew chief assigned to the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “I missed them the most. I’m glad I got the experience, but it feels good to be back.”

The modern-day Doolittle Raiders conducted integrated training missions in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to deterrence, and regional security and stability.

“It was a real good deployment and a good learning experience,” said Capt. Ian, a pilot assigned to the 34th EBS. “I learned that the trials and training we’ve had at home station have really prepared us to do the mission.”

Ian added not everyone gets to have this kind of experience. “To get out and test our metal [toughness] in an unusual location, and to see the training we endured truly come through, is really awesome.”

The B-1 bomber presence in the Pacific region was an excellent chance to integrate with allies and partners in the region. 

“We had the opportunity to integrate with a lot of different nations out there like South Korea and Japan,” Ian explained. “Opportunities we don’t normally get at our home station, so it was an awesome experience and was really cool.”