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The Bones are back: B-1s return to Guam

Four B-1B Lancer bombers and 200 airmen from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas arrived at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam Tuesday for a bomber task force mission, Pacific Air Forces said in a release.

The bombers and airmen, with Dyess' 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, were sent to Guam to support PACAF’s training missions with allies, partner forces and joint forces such as the U.S. Navy.

This represents the latest in a string of near-monthly B-1 bomber task force rotations to Guam since the Air Force ended the continuous bomber presence in April.

“Every bomber task force is important because they accomplish both tactical and strategic objectives,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Stallsworth, the squadron’s commander. “As we conduct training operations, we are able to increase our bomber force lethality, readiness and experience across the force. It also demonstrates the Department of Defense’s ability to operate in an agile fashion to the world.”

On their way to Guam, the bombers trained with the amphibious assault ship America, which is now deployed to the western Pacific Ocean, PACAF said in Thursday’s release.

The bombers also linked up with 16 F-15s and two F-2s from the Japanese Self-Defense Force, also called the Koku-Jieitai, near the Sea of Japan.

“The training proved to be a very good opportunity to improve tactical skills as well as to show our commitment to the robust Japan-U.S. alliance and the region,” said Lt. Col. Kobayashi Yoshiyuki, commander of the Koku-Jieitai’s 305th Fighter Squadron, in the release. “Through continued bilateral trainings between the Koku-Jieitai and the U.S. Air Force, we are tough and strong, and always ready.”

Two B-1B Lancer aircraft sit on a runway during a Bomber Task Force deployment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Oct. 21. (Pacific Air Forces)
Two B-1B Lancer aircraft sit on a runway during a Bomber Task Force deployment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Oct. 21. (Pacific Air Forces)

After the 16-year Continuous Bomber Presence mission at Anderson and its regular rotations of strategic bombers in and out of Guam ended in April, the Air Force began a series of bomber task force missions, often involving B-1s.

Less than a month later, four B-1s from Dyess returned to Guam on May 1 for a temporary rotation. A pair of B-1s from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota followed in July, and more B-1 bomber task forces followed in August and September.

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