by Senior Airman Malia Jenkins
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
6/9/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE FAIRFORD, England -- B-52H
Stratofortress aircrew members from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota,
conducted the first flying mission supporting the multi-national
exercises Saber Strike 15 and BALTOPS 15, in conjunction with B-2 ground
and air crews who performed hot-pit refueling and engine-running crew
changes June 8, 2015, at Royal Air Force Fairford, England.
During an approximately nine-hour sortie, aircrew members demonstrated
the B-52's ability to project strength to our allies and adversaries
with simulated air strikes, by flying into allied airspace, conducting a
low pass and completing combat air support operations with Joint
Terminal Attack Controllers from Poland.
"We practice our capabilities all the time at Minot AFB, but to do it in
Poland and with our allies is good training," said Maj. Luke
Dellenbach, 69th Bomb Squadron director of staff. "Doing what we
normally do but across the world in allied air space shows the global
deterrence factor of being a Cold War era aircraft. The buffs have been
around a long time -- we still got it. We're still doing what we've been
doing for over 50 years."
Dellenbach said he believes the JTACs received good training on how a
B-52 operates compared to the fighters they are used to working with;
Minot aircrew members also received great training by conducting close
air support with allies who have never worked with a bomber.
Although some crews participated in Saber Strike in the previous years,
this is the first year Dellenbach's flight crew has demonstrated the
B-52's capabilities to European allies and partners in Saber Strike 15
and shared in the interoperability of the training opportunities in this
"My crew is a stacked crew. All are pretty experienced aircrew members,
and this wasn't anyone's first exercise," Dellenbach said. "It's our
first Saber Strike exercise but not our first high visibility exercise
or higher headquarter directed mission. It was great to have an
experienced crew to employ our weapons systems and know the mission was
going to get done."
Using the iconic B-52 in a global power sortie where we can say "hey, we
can strike any target, anywhere, especially from a forward deployed
location like Fairford, and hold any target, country or place at risk
and let them know we're here," shows the B-52's power in the assurance
and deterrence factor, he said.
The deployment to Royal Air Force Fairford was specifically designed and
closely coordinated with the United Kingdom and the United States'
regional allies and partners to ensure maximum opportunities to
synchronize and integrate bomber capabilities with their military
assets; strengthening and improving interoperability, as both
organizations work toward mutual goals.
In line with integrating bomber capabilities, two B-2 Spirits were
refueled by Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, crew chiefs during a
hot-pit refueling, further demonstrating the global reach abilities of
U.S. Strategic Command assets.
"Flying the B-2 here solidifies the alliance we have with several of our
allies, the commitment we provide, and the power we demonstrate, which
we were able to showcase on this platform with refueling the aircraft in
minimal time," said Chief Master Sgt. Craig Smith, 509th Aircraft
Maintenance Squadron low observable superintendent.
"Team Whiteman came to Fairford to provide that strategic deterrence,
global power and combat support to Combatant Commands," Smith said. "The
crews that are out here were able to get the B-2 refueled in minimal
time and send it on its way. The teams here and any team Whiteman member
always have a positive attitude, and they knocked it out of the park
with prepping the area and hooking up the jets in minimal time."
Tech. Sgt. Justin Petree, 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew
chief, said not only is there an active duty presence, but the Air
National Guard has a presence at RAF Fairford in conducting the mission
and coordinating the B-2 Spirit platform in Europe to help support the
The 131st Bomb Wing, an Air National Guard unit from Whitman AFB,
Missouri, played the lead role in planning the B-2 portion of the
deployment, helping their fellow active-duty Airmen showcase the B-2
Spirit's diverse capabilities within the European area of operations.
Bomber operations provide a credible, flexible and ready capability to
respond to a variety of potential threats and situations. These missions
support USSTRATCOM's global operations and are conducted in
coordination with Geographic Combatant Commands, military services and
agencies to deter strategic attacks against the U.S. and its allies and