393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron Is First Deployment Of Spirit
Bomber To Pacific
B-2 Spirit bombers have
deployed to Andersen AFB for the first time to support Pacific
Command’s security efforts in the Western Pacific. More
than 270 Airmen of the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed
from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base (MO), currently
the only B-2 unit in the Air Force. They replaced the 93rd EBS from
Barksdale AFB (LA).
The 393rd EBS is the first B-2 squadron to deploy here
supporting Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence in the
Asia-Pacific region. The bombers enhance regional security and the
US commitment to the area, Pacific Air Forces officials said.
This rotation provides training to integrate bombers into PACAF's
joint and coalition exercises from a forward-deployed location,
"We feel that we have some great training opportunities out
here," said Col. Curtiss Petrek, 36th Expeditionary Operations
Group commander. "One of the things we do a lot with the B-2 is fly
missions that tend to be a bit longer than the average sorties that
most of the aircraft fly. We'll get an opportunity to fly those
types of missions and to really practice some of the
command-and-control communication links.”
missions, the Whiteman bombers need to acclimate themselves to the
differences of flying around here, Colonel Petrek said. "The
distances are so much further apart here, and if you are going to
fly a mission, you need good command and control. It's important
that everyone knows the systems you have, how they are to be used,
and that they are used properly," he said.
Although the 393rd EBS is the first B-2 squadron to deploy to
Andersen, the pathway has been cleared for them by three previous
B-52 Stratofortress squadrons, Colonel Petrek said. "The transition
here has been pretty easy primarily because the prior B-52 unit
deployed here worked with us well in advance to make our transition
go (smoothly)," he said.
The bomber squadron consists of a variety of maintainers to keep
the B-2 up and flying. "A large majority of us are maintenance
specialists," the commander said. "We have quite a few systems that
require unique specialties so we have quite a few Airmen with some
very specialized skills."
The B-2 is distinguished from other bombers and fighters by its
stealth capabilities and high aerodynamic efficiency, he said.
"Probably one of the key things that differentiate us from other
aircraft is the low-observable characteristics of the airplane,"
the colonel said. "(They give) the combatant commander an airplane
to use in instances that other aircraft can't be used. This comes
at some price, however, because it takes quite a bit of work to
maintain those (characteristics)."
The B-2 commander said he expects the Airmen to make the most of
their time here and to complete their mission as they have been
trained to do. "One of the things we put a lot of focus on is to be
able to put the airplane over a target when we are told to do it,"
Colonel Petrek said. "We practice and train to do those things (at
Whiteman and now here) so if we are ever called to do it, we can do
it and do it well."
(Our thanks to Airman 1st Class Sarah Gregory of the 36th
Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs)