Military News

Friday, June 26, 2015

Teamwork is key for Northern Edge

by Airman 1st Class Luke Hill
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/25/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- Five B-52H Stratofortresses from the 96th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, headed to Alaska June 22 to participate in Exercise Northern Edge 2015.

Northern Edge is a joint training exercise involving all military branches and prepares joint forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

"Northern Edge is a Pacific Command exercise where joint forces make up a global response force," said Capt.  John Brandes, 2nd Operations Support Squadron deputy flight commander and team chief for exercise Northern Edge. "The exercise takes place over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex which consists of 65,000 square miles in the air, 42,000 square miles over sea, and over 1.5 million acres of land maneuvering space."

The exercise is designed to sharpen U.S.  tactical combat skills, improve control and communication between forces and develop interoperable plans across the joint force.

Exercises like NE15 are an imperative part of making sure Airmen are always learning and sharpening their skills to stay combat ready.

"It was a great learning experience," said 1st Lt. Dustin Martin, 96th BS navigator. "The sortie was almost 16 hours long, and you really have to focus on what you're doing. Things are considerably more complicated and little things make a big difference when the flight is that long."

A large variety of planes with different roles and purposes are used during the exercise. The 2nd Bomb Wing's role is important because, with the B-52, the Air Force can travel long distances and maintain a constant presence in the air.

"We can fly further, longer and carry more than any other asset," said Martin. "People depend on us because we can fly [for hours] and stay in the game longer."

The experience also allows different branches to work together as they would be required to in a real-life scenario.
"We speak different languages," said Martin. "Lingo and practices are different between branches and joint exercises help us work out those differences so we can work together more efficiently."

In a real life crisis, the Air Force, Army and Navy must be able to operate together without a hitch. This makes communication and teamwork vital to the success of the mission.

NE15 is essential to making sure Airmen always stay combat ready. Should circumstances ever call for it, the 2nd Bomb Wing is prepared to bring devastating B-52 combat capabilities anytime, anywhere.

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