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B-1s Conduct Bomber Task Force Mission in South China Sea

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers fly by the USS Ronald Reagan in the Philippine Sea during a Bomber Task Force mission, July 21, 2020. Strategic bomber missions contribute to the joint lethality and readiness of the U.S. Air Force and its allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Navy)

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers fly by the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the Philippine Sea during a Bomber Task Force mission, July 21, 2020. Strategic bomber missions contribute to the joint lethality and readiness of the U.S. Air Force and its allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Navy)

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers fly by the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the Philippine Sea during a Bomber Task Force mission, July 21, 2020. Strategic bomber missions contribute to the joint lethality and readiness of the U.S. Air Force and its allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Navy)

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers fly by the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the Philippine Sea during a Bomber Task Force mission, July 21, 2020. Strategic bomber missions contribute to the joint lethality and readiness of the U.S. Air Force and its allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Navy)

A 28th Bomb Wing B-1B Lancer, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off from Andersen AFB, Guam, prior to a Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea, July 21, 2020. Carrying the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. The Department of Defense maintains command and control of its bomber force for any mission, anywhere in the world, at any time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett)

A 28th Bomb Wing B-1B Lancer, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off from Andersen AFB, Guam, prior to a Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea, July 21, 2020. Carrying the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. The Department of Defense maintains command and control of its bomber force for any mission, anywhere in the world, at any time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett)

Aircrew, assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, prepare to board a B-1B Lancer at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, prior to a Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea, July 21, 2020. Long range, long duration missions demonstrate the U.S. Air Force’s unwavering commitment to our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett)

Aircrew, assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, prepare to board a B-1B Lancer at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, prior to a Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea, July 21, 2020. Long range, long duration missions demonstrate the U.S. Air Force’s unwavering commitment to our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --

A pair of B-1B Lancers assigned to Ellsworth deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, launched from the island base to conduct a long-range strategic Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea on July 21, 2020.

During the flight, the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron conducted a maritime integration operation with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group in the Philippine Sea. The B-1 and its crews demonstrated the U.S. commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific, while also displaying the ability to rapidly deploy to a forward operating location and sustain operations whenever called upon.

The non-stop mission – made possible with support from KC-135 Stratotankers from the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and the dedication of 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit – took the B-1s to the South China Sea and allowed the bomber to fly for 14 consecutive hours.

“The BTF construct provides the flexibility for our bombers to operate in any area of responsibility and enhances our readiness,” said Lt. Col. Lincoln Coleman, Commander of the 37th EBS. “It gives us the ability to project air power across the globe.”

U.S. Strategic Command routinely conducts BTF operations across the globe as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to collective defense and to integrate with Geographic Combatant Command operations and activities. Coleman noted these missions provide B-1 aircrews the opportunity to train with allies and partner nations they may work with in future operations.

“These missions strengthen our partnerships and increases our interoperability with a wide variety of military assets,” Coleman said. “Not only throughout the Department of Defense, but also with our allies across the globe.”

More than 150 Airmen and several B-1 bombers arrived at Andersen July 17 to conduct BTF missions in the Indo-Pacific. Col. David Doss, 28th Bomb Wing commander, said ensuring the base remains mission ready and able to deploy for missions such as these during the COVID-19 pandemic is why Ellsworth instituted restrictions and safeguards for its personnel from the beginning.

“Because our members often work closely together, one positive case can cause the quarantine of many personnel which can have a devastating mission impact,” Doss said. “These safeguards and restrictions are continuously updated based on the potential for increased risk of COVID-19 spread due to events that attract large crowds or an increase in out of town visitors.  The 28th Bomb Wing must always be prepared to answer our Nation’s call anytime, anywhere at a moment’s notice without fail.”

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