Barons return home following Bomber Task Force deployment

Written by: Tech Sgt. Zade Vadnais, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 5th Bomb Wing walk-off a bus after returning from a Bomber Task Force mission at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, July 24, 2023. The Airmen spent six weeks in Guam in support of Bomber Task Force missions. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Trust Tate

The 23rd Bomb Squadron’s world-famous “Bomber Barons” returned home from their most recent Bomber Task Force deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 24.

The contingent, composed of approximately 280 Airmen and four B-52H Stratofortress, logged hundreds of flight hours from dozens of sorties within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility during the six-week deployment. The BTF also provided an opportunity for the squadron’s aircrews, maintainers and support personnel to integrate with various allies and partners present in the region for unrelated military exercises.

“BTF is the way U.S. Strategic Command presents forces through U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command so that we can move anywhere in the world, into any theater with a small footprint and very limited notice,” explained Lt. Col. Ryan Loucks, 23rd Bomb Squadron BTF commander. “It allows us to be strategically predictable yet operationally unpredictable.”

Strategic bomber missions like BTFs enhance the readiness and training necessary to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe. Additionally, these deployments demonstrate the credibility of USSTRATCOM forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any other time in recent history.

“Our goal when we execute BTFs is to make sure we can prove bomber airpower is synonymous with any theater,” said Loucks. “We can be plugged into any theater, working directly for the combatant command and we can execute that combatant command’s objectives on call to make sure we’re ready to train and fight tonight wherever we might end up.”
The deployment also marked the first time a U.S. B-52H Stratofortress landed on and operated from Indonesian soil. Two aircraft and approximately 60 Airmen supporting the BTF forward deployed to Medan, Indonesia, where they sustained bomber operations for five days, resulting in unprecedented integration with Indonesian Air Force personnel in the air and on the ground.

“I am extremely proud of our aircrew and our maintainers, the entire world-famous bomber baron contingent that we brought out here to execute the mission,” said Loucks. “We’ve flown countless hours, we’ve integrated with multiple different platforms, joint partners and other partners in the area, and we’ve emerged from this BTF better than we started. I couldn’t be more proud to lead this amazing team.”

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