B-52 crews are once again showing that there is nowhere in the world where bad guys can hide from the long arm of U.S. airpower.
On Thursday, a B-52 from the 5th Bomb Wing left Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, for a 16-hour flight to and from Colombia, according to U.S. Strategic Command.
The Stratofortress was to practice with the Colombian air force and then take part in a flyover at the Feria Aeronautica Internacional Rionegro (F-AIR) Colombia 2015 International Air Show, STRATCOM announced.
"Our support to Colombia is based on more than just a shared history; it is based on Colombia's enduring importance to our national security," Marine Gen. John Kelly, head of U.S. Southern Command, said in Thursday's news release. "Training missions such as these ensure effective cooperation between our countries."
In August, a B-52 participated in SOUTHCOM's Exercise PANAMAX, the news release said. The U.S. also sent a B-52 to F-AIR Colombia International Air Show in 2006 and a B-1B Lancer to the airshow in 2008.
Separately, two B-52s from the 2nd Bomb Wing returned to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, on July 2 after flying 44 hours to Australia and back, STRATCOM announced in a Tuesday news release.
"These flights are one of the many ways the U.S. demonstrates its commitment to a stable and peaceful Indo-Asia Pacific region," Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, head of STRATCOM, said in the news release.
The two B-52s worked with Royal Australian Air Force ground forces to drop inert ordnance on the Delamere Air Weapons Range and to perform a low approach at RAAF Base Tindal, said Army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for STRATCOM.
"Missions such as these demonstrate the ability of the U.S. bomber force to provide a credible, flexible, and always-ready capability to respond to a variety of potential threats and situations, both conventionally and strategically, when called to do so," O'Donnell said in an email to Air Force Times.
The training mission was not part of Talisman Sabre 2015, a massive exercise involving more than 33,000 U.S. and Australian troops that is expected to run until July 19, O'Donnell said.
U.S. strategists are concerned about China's development of cruise and ballistic missiles, which could threaten U.S. aircraft carriers and air bases in the Pacific if the two countries went to war.
When asked if the B-52 mission to Australia was meant to signal to China that U.S. airpower has the range to reach targets from the U.S. if necessary, O'Donnell said the flights are "not in direct response to any real or perceived threat, or specific actions taken by any adversary."