Air Force does not plan to place B-52 bombers on alert

Eloise Ogden/MDN The Air Force has no plans to place B-52 bombers, like the one in this photo, on 24-hour alert status, Air Force officials said Monday. National news reports said the contrary – that the Air Force was preparing for such action.

The Air Force is not preparing to place its B-52 bombers and personnel on alert contrary to national news reports that the Air Force is preparing for such action.

“We are not planning or preparing to put B-52s back on alert,” said Erika Yepsen, a spokeswoman for the Air Force.

“Preparations like updating base infrastructure (i.e. updating alert facilities, munitions storage, dining facilities), conducting exercises and modernizing equipment are necessary to maintain a baseline level of readiness. We do this routinely as part of our organize, train and equipment mission so our forces are ready to respond when called upon,” Yepsen said on Monday.

Various national news agencies reported in recent days that the U.S. Air Force is preparing to place its fleet of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since 1991 due to escalating tensions with North Korea.

The news agencies quoted Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. Goldfein told a reporter it could happen.

Minot AFB and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana are the only bases with B-52 bombers. Currently, the 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot AFB, one of two B-52 squadrons at the Minot base, is deployed to the Middle East in the fight against ISIS. The Minot base’s other B-52 squadron, the 23rd, recently returned from a deployment to the Middle East.