Lt. Col Ryan Loucks, 23rd Bomb Squadron Commander at Minot Air Force Base, the deployment of a Bomber Task Force is important. “Being in the Indo-Pacific with a Bomber Task Force allows our forces to showcase our ability to deploy anytime, anywhere, in support of the combatant commander’s objectives,” he explained.
However, gathered at the Minot International Airport on Monday was a group of Minot Air
Force Base and Team Minot officials ready to welcome back those who were deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. “Sometimes we get a lot of notice, and sometimes we get very little. But in either case we are ready to go,” according to Loucks, and from the smiles of those who were deplaning from the over 15-hour trip from Guam to Minot, those deployed were ready to come home.
Last week the B-52 bombers returned to Minot AFB from Guam, and today the support
personnel from the Bomber Task Force arrived home and were greeted by family and friends. “Today we are bringing home some of our warfighters who have spent the last month plus in the Pacific Theater for Bomber Task Force Pacific,” said Loucks. “We had a chance to
train with our joint forces in the region, and our allies as well. The Bomber Task Force gives us the best training, training that we can’t get here in the United States. We were also there doing messaging for our strategic deterrent.”
As the first of the BTF personnel began to deplane, there was a round of applause from the many people on hand to share a fist bump and a smile with each and every person on the plane. At the front of the line was 5th Bomb Wing Commander Col. Dan Hoadley.
For the civic leaders from Task Force 21, “It was a way to show our support for all of those people on the plane,” according to Task Force 21 member Jason Zimmerman. “It’s really
important to show them that we care.”
Lt. Col Loucks offered some final words about the deployment as well. “We are really happy to welcome the team members home. We’ve been out there for over a month. There are long days working out on the flight line and getting the aircraft ready to go. We had outstanding integration with our allies and our partners. We flew quite a few sorties and we got a lot of training taken care of, and we’re happy to get them back. Bomber Task Force proves that we can project long range air power to any theater, at any time, and at a time and place of our choosing. We assure our allies, but more important we assure our adversaries that we can do it.”
Members of the Bomber Task Force will now get time off to be with their family and friends, which, according to Loucks, is “something they certainly deserve.”