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Minot AFB B-52 unit’s deployment to Guam extended

Submitted Photo A B-52H Stratofortress deployed from Minot Air Force Base receives fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 191st Air Refueling Squadron at Wright Air National Guard, Utah, after taking off from Andersen AFB, Guam on Feb. 3, shown in this Air Force photo. The deployment of B-52s and personnel from Minot AFB’s 69th Bomb Squadron has been extended.

Minot Air Force Base’s 69th Bomb Squadron personnel and B-52 bombers currently deployed to Guam will be coming home later than initially planned. The bombers and personnel were deployed to Andersen AFB in Guam several months ago.

“We understand the challenges of having our airmen away from home, and Minot Air Force Base prides itself on caring for the families of these airmen while they work abroad to defend our nation and our allies,” said Air Force Global Strike Command officials.

“In support of American interests and allies in the Indo-Pacific region, we decided to extend our B-52 bomber squadron from Minot AFB, ND.

“Our leaders, throughout the entire chain of command, did not make this decision lightly. This was the prudent decision to keep available bombers and aircrew forward deployed in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East.

“This extension, coupled with other B-52 deployments, and the ongoing maintenance issues with the B-1B fleet, contributed to this situation,” Air Force Global Strike Command officials said in a statement provided to The Minot Daily News.

The Air Force has deployed bomber aircrews and aircraft to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in support of Continuous Bomber Presence operations for more than 15 years. The Continuous Bomber Presence deployment usually is about six months.

No specific date or timeframe was given when the Minot AFB personnel and bombers currently in Guam will be returning to Minot AFB.

The 69th Bomb Squadron is one of two B-52 squadrons at Minot AFB. The other squadron is the 23rd Bomb Squadron. Both are part of the 5th Bomb Wing led by Col. Bradley Cochran.

“Bomber missions demonstrate the credibility and flexibility of our forces to address today’s complex, dynamic and volatile global security environments,” Air Force Global Strike Command officials also said.

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