Military News

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

69th BS: Deterrence lives on

by Senior Airman Stephanie Morris
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

9/29/2015 -  MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Three B-52H Stratofortress' took off for a training mission from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Sept. 23.

The mission took place to ensure the 5th Bomb Wing remains fully capable of providing a full, simultaneous spectrum of devastating global strike options to combatant commanders anywhere, anytime, said Capt. Margaret Ingerslew, 69th Bomb Squadron assistant director of operations.

Ingerslew explained, the 69th BS is tasked with both conventional and nuclear mission sets, and maintains the capability to perform both mission sets simultaneously.

"Specifically for the conventional mission, we have a wide arsenal of weapon types that we're capable of employing," Ingerslew said. "This group of sorties is the perfect example of making sure we're able to successfully employ multiple weapon types on multiple targets with minimal time and exposure to threats.

One pass the aircraft made included six weapons on four different targets, another pass included four weapons on four different targets.

"The ability to respond to multiple contingencies at once, worldwide, with a broad set of capabilities to bring to a given scenario, is the reason Minot succeeds in its deterrence mission," Ingerslew said.

This mission was not the first of its kind, Ingerslew stated. However, the base is only allotted a small amount of these precision guided munitions.

"We train to all of these various tactics and weapon types every day, but to employ them with actual weapons, instead of using the simulated mode of our aircraft offensive avionics system, is a way for crews to get more realistic training," said Ingerslew.

For Ingerslew the most satisfying part of missions like this is verifying that the weapons system continues to function as advertised or better, and enabling B-52 crewmembers to foster greater confidence in their own abilities.

Maintenance Airmen who loaded the munitions onto the aircraft and maintained them before loading echoed her sentiments.

"Every time we load a jet the world sees that we will not back down, and I get to play a direct role in that show of force," said Staff Sgt. Mark Kelly, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew team chief. "When munitions release from the aircraft, it is a testament to the hard work and many hours spent to ensure we win wars."

Members of the 69th BS prepared for the mission by conducting detailed mission planning, intensive study of the various weapons, employment procedures, standards and aircraft systems, as well as regulations governing the use of bombing and gunnery ranges.

"Mission planning and coordination started a month and a half prior to mission execution," said Capt. Michael Hansen, 5th Operations Support Squadron flight commander. "This is the proof and truth data of Minot's deterrence."

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