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Reflecting on record-breaking deployment

A B-1 bomber assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron separates from the boom pod after receiving fuel from an Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker that is deployed to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar over Iraq, Sept. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

A B-1 bomber assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron separates from the boom pod after receiving fuel from an Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker that is deployed to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar over Iraq, Sept. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Staff Sgt. Bryant, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, waits for the ‘OK’ to marshal a B-1 bomber out for take-off Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Bryant was deployed out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., during a recent deployment (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Staff Sgt. Bryant, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, waits for the ‘OK’ to marshal a B-1 bomber out for take-off Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Bryant was deployed out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., during a recent deployment (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Staff Sgt. Bryant, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, watches as his B-1 bomber moves towards the flightline for take-off Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Bryant was deployed out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Staff Sgt. Bryant, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, watches as his B-1 bomber moves towards the flightline for take-off Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Bryant was deployed out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Airman 1st Class Sade, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, listens to another crew chief inside a B-1 bomber while completing operation checks during post-flight inspections Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Sade was deployed out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Airman 1st Class Sade, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, listens to another crew chief inside a B-1 bomber while completing operation checks during post-flight inspections Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Sade was deployed out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Senior Airman Alexis, 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a post-flight inspection on a B-1 B Lancer, Jan. 11, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. After a B-1 mission is complete, Alexis and other maintainers, perform several post flight inspections to ensure the aircraft is mission ready. Alexis is deployed from the 307th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Terrica Y. Jones/Released)

Senior Airman Alexis, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a post-flight inspection on a B-1 B Lancer, Jan. 11, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. After a B-1 mission is complete, Alexis and other maintainers, perform several post flight inspections to ensure the aircraft is mission ready. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Terrica Y. Jones/Released)

Airman 1st Class James, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, fills the auxiliary power unit of a B-1 bomber as part of his final inspections to ready the aircraft before an aircrew boards for a mission Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. James was deployed to the area from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Airman 1st Class James, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, fills the auxiliary power unit of a B-1 bomber as part of his final inspections to ready the aircraft before an aircrew boards for a mission Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. James was deployed to the area from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Nasir and Airman 1st Class James, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, check several sections of a B-1 bomber as part of their final inspection to ready the aircraft before an aircrew boards for a mission Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Nasir and James were deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Nasir and Airman 1st Class James, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, check several sections of a B-1 bomber as part of their final inspection to ready the aircraft before an aircrew boards for a mission Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Nasir and James were deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Nasir and Airman 1st Class James, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, remove a panel underneath a B-1 bomber to check for leaks as part of a final pre-flight inspection Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Nasir and James were deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Nasir and Airman 1st Class James, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, remove a panel underneath a B-1 bomber to check for leaks as part of a final pre-flight inspection Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Nasir and James were deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Airman 1st Class Brian, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, looks through his tools to perform preventative maintenance on a B-1 bomber Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Brian was deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Airman 1st Class Brian, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, looks through his tools to perform preventative maintenance on a B-1 bomber Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Brian was deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

Airmen 1st Class Bobby and Brian, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, read through their technical orders during preventative maintenance on a B-1 bomber Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The two Airmen were deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)
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Airmen 1st Class Bobby and Brian, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, read through their technical orders during preventative maintenance on a B-1 bomber Sept. 22, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The two Airmen were deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)

A B-1 bomber assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron flies over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Dec. 24, 2015. OIR is the coalition intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb/Released)
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A B-1 bomber assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron flies over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Dec. 24, 2015. OIR is the coalition intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- It was in the early morning hours of Jan. 24 that family members, loved ones, and fellow Airmen gathered as one on the flightline to greet approximately 350 Airmen returning home from a six-month deployment.

Now, two weeks after that joyful celebration, wing and squadron leadership took a moment to reflect on the success accomplished as 28th Bomb Wing Airmen continually broke records through their time in Southwest Asia.

"We employed weapons on almost every mission for nearly six months straight," said Lt. Col. Joseph, 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. "I knew we would be busy, but I wasn't expecting to employ more than 5,000 weapons on the enemy. It was rewarding to see the tangible results on the ground."

Ellsworth Airmen provided operational support to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing during their deployment, supplying theater commands with critical long-range strike capability, persistent presence, large diverse weapons payload, and organic sensors. Their sorties supported efforts in Afghanistan for Operation Freedom's Sentinel and in Iraq and Syria for Operation Inherent Resolve.

This deployment had a high operations tempo, as Airmen set records for the most munitions employed by a B-1 bomber squadron during a six-month rotation in the past 10 years, surpassing numbers set by their sister squadron, the 34th BS Thunderbirds.

Although this time downrange was a first for many, all were prepared to accomplish the mission.

"Almost half of my squadron was on their first deployment," Joseph said. "We made a concerted effort to outline, educate, and train everyone in the squadron about the expectations and the challenges the working environment would bring. But due to the extensive training they received at home prior to deployment, they were well prepared to fight and win anytime, anywhere."

Joseph noted the 37th EBS lived by a quote from around 400 B.C.: "He is best who is trained in the severest school," -- Thucydides, the Athenian historian, political philosopher and general during the period of the Peloponnesian War.

"It was a privilege for me to lead this amazing team of dedicated warriors and professionals," Joseph said. "Throughout the deployment, we focused on providing dedicated and lethal combat air power day-in and day-out. The fact we enjoyed a record-breaking deployment was simply a satisfying by-product."

The B-1 bomber has been involved in the fight since October 2001 and has been the workhorse of the Air Force for the past decade and a half. Since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve, coalition forces have damaged or destroyed over 20,300 targets.
During the course of this last deployment, aviators, maintainers and support personnel were able to generate more than 490 B-1 bomber sorties in support of that effort.

"One third of this entire evil gang is gone, courtesy of the 28th Bomb Wing," said Col. Gentry Boswell, 28th BW commander.