B-52 integrates, trains with French allies

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Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joshua DeMotts

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and a French air force Rafale fighter jet fly over France, April 20, 2016. The B-52 also conducted a flight over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially entered World War I.

A B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., conducted a long-range training sortie April 20, to train and integrate with the French air force.

The B-52 also participated in an aerial review near Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Lafayette Escadrille.

“This mission demonstrates the flexibility that defines the bomber leg of the triad by incorporating operational training with an important public commemoration of U.S. support to our oldest ally,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the U.S. Strategic Command commander. “The integration of our strategic bomber force with the French air force is central to our shared commitment to promoting global security and stability in today’s complex and dynamic environment.”

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., flies over the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in Marnes-la-Coquette, France, April 20, 2016, during a ceremony honoring the 268 Americans who joined the French air force before the U.S. officially entered World War I.

The Lafayette Escadrille was a squadron in the French air force during World War I composed of American pilots, who served as the core of experience for the nascent American Air Corps that was activated in Europe following U.S. entry into the war.

One of nine Defense Department unified combatant commands, STRATCOM has global strategic missions, assigned through the Unified Command Plan, which include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction; and analysis and targeting.