Global Thunder 23 concludes at Minot

Written by: Airman 1st Class Kyle Wilson, Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Smith, B-52H Stratofortress pilot (left), and Capt. Zachary Haun, electronic warfare officer, both assigned to the 69th Bomb Squadron, rush to their alert vehicles following an aircraft generation order during Global Thunder 23 at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, April 16, 2023. Exercises like Global Thunder involve extensive planning and coordination to provide unique training for assigned units and forces. U.S. Air Force photos I Senior Airman Zachary Wright

Global Thunder 23, the most recent iteration of U.S. Strategic Command’s annual nuclear command and control exercise, concluded April 19.

GT23 was designed to assess joint operational readiness and provide training opportunities for USSTRATCOM forces to deter, detect, and prevent strategic attacks against the United States and its allies.

During the exercise, Team Minot personnel executed and sustained a simulated alert status to validate and maintain an effective and ready strategic deterrence force. Defenders, aircraft maintainers, aircrew, munitions specialists, airfield management personnel, food service specialists, and various other Airmen in support roles worked around the clock to accomplish exercise objectives.

“The 5th Bomb Wing is comprised of exceptional, mission-focused Airmen, and they absolutely nailed the execution of this exercise,” said Col Daniel Hoadley, 5th Bomb Wing commander. “Strategic deterrence is anchored on a demonstration of credible combat capability, and Global Thunder allowed us to do just that.”

GT23 presented training scenarios that tested all USSTRATCOM mission areas to include Team Minot’s 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing, with a specific focus on nuclear readiness. Airmen and B-52H Stratofortresses from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, integrated with 5th BW Airmen to conduct joint readiness operations.

“We always aim to practice the way that we will be expected to perform in combat,” said Hoadley. “To that end, we were able to wring out virtually every aspect of nuclear operations during this year’s Global Thunder. We integrated with the 2nd BW to meet logistical requirements and crush all operations and maintenance tasks inside of tight timelines. Given the complexity of this exercise, the results were confidence building for the entire B-52 team.”

The training opportunities provided by Global Thunder enable USSTRATCOM forces to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency, and validates Team Minot’s always-ready global strike capabilities.

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