B-52 integrates, trains with French allies

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(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joshua DeMotts)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFNS) — A B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, 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.”

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.