June 2, 2017

U.S. bomber mission underway in European theatre

Airman 1st Class Randahl J. Jenson
RAF Fairford, England

A B-52H Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., lands on the runway at RAF Fairford, U.K., June 1, 2017. Bomber missions in the European theatre enable crews to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency, and validate the Air Force’s always-ready global strike capability.

B-52H Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and approximately 800 Air Force Global Strike Airmen deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, to support a number of exercises with joint partners and NATO Allies June 2.

“These exercises are an excellent opportunity to display our global strike capability and our ability for sustained regional stability and security in different areas of operations,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jared Kennish, 322nd Air Expeditionary Group commander.

The deployment of strategic bombers to the U.K. helps exercise RAF Fairford as the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa’s forward operating bomber location, while providing important integration and interaction with NATO allies and partner nations.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work side-by-side with our NATO and regional partners,” Kennish said. “Integrating the strategic bomber with multi-national operations in a variety of scenarios and operating from a strategic forward location in European Command (EUCOM) is integral to our defense capabilities and vital to global security.”

A B-52H Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., touches down on the runway at RAF Fairford, U.K., June 1, 2017. These bombers will participate in exercises Saber Strike, Arctic Challenge and Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), in the European theatre. These operations and engagements with allies and partners demonstrate and strengthen America’s commitment to global security and stability.

Training with allies and partner nations contributes to enhanced resiliency and interoperability and enables the U.S. Air Force to build enduring relationships necessary to confront the broad range of global challenges.

“The goal of these deployments is to strengthen our ability to operate together and build a partnership in contingency operations,” Kennish said. “These strategic bomber missions will provide us with an experience that we couldn’t replicate at our home station.”

The bomber deployment will support regional exercises Arctic Challenge, Saber Strike and Baltic Operations. Airmen will experience working alongside other branches of the U.S. military along with 14 other countries.

“This deployment allows us to not only become more familiar operating within the European area of operations, but it also enables us to increase our interoperability with our fellow Airmen and regional partners,” Kennish said. “This provides us the opportunity to build a global perspective that all bomber Airmen must have.”

Senior Airman Calvin Kunkel, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant dedicated crew chief, marshals a B-52H Stratofortress from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., at RAF Fairford, U.K., June 1, 2017. Approximately 800 Striker Airmen from Air Force Global Strike Command are participating in joint and combined exercises in the European theatre with 14 allied and partner nations enhancing the Air Force’s interoperability and resiliency with allied nations.

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