Approximately 350 airmen and their B-1B Lancers returned to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, on January 29, 2018, after a six-month deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in support of US Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission.
Col John Edwards, the 28th Bomb Wing commander, said: ‘This was an historic deployment for the 37th Bomb Squadron and 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit in reassuring our allies and deterring adversaries in the Indo-Asia Pacific Region.’
Crews flew 1,100 hours, completed more than 260 sorties, and dropped 200 bombs in training during the rotation. This deployed presence demonstrated America’s continuing commitment to supporting the Indo-Asia-Pacific regional stability and security.
‘It was a very successful deployment,’ said Capt Brandon, a weapons system officer assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron. ‘We set a lot of records and got a lot of integration with our allies. We even moved farther north into North Korea than we have in the past two decades – a lot of history was made in this deployment.’
During the deployment, a sortie was flown past the Northern Limit Line, which is the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas. This marks the first time in over 20 years that a combat sortie has crossed the Northern Limit Line. ‘Missions like this are very important,’ said Lt Col Daniel Diehl, the 37th Expeditionary Squadron commander. ‘It shows the world how serious the US is in supporting its allies. It’s crucial we show the world and our allies that we have their back.’
‘I’m extremely happy to be back home again with my family,’ Brandon said. ‘I just want to thank Ellsworth for the support. I honestly couldn’t do it without the families and friends that support us with the mission. We couldn’t do it without them.’