Two B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers assigned to the 23rd Bomb Squadron from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota currently operating out of RAF Fairford, United Kingdom conducted low-approach flyovers over southeastern Europe, on Aug. 22, 2022.
According to a USAFE news release, the flyover demonstrated US commitment and assurance to NATO Allies and partners located in southeastern Europe flying over Dubrovnik, Croatia; down the Adriatic coast of Montenegro; Skopje, North Macedonia; and Tirana, Albania.
These unique flyovers also provided citizens an opportunity to observe some of NATO’s most powerful aircraft pass overhead.
“As we look to the sky over Skanderbeg Square today, we remember the past 100 years of diplomatic relations with America and look forward to working together for the next 100,” said Brig. Gen. Arben Kingji, Chief of Defense of Albania. “Much has changed in 100 years, but the United States has never wavered from supporting Albania and its people. We are delighted to see our countries working side by side defending democracy, peace and human rights…Krah Per Krah. (an Albanian phrase meaning, “Shoulder to Shoulder”).”
Skanderbeg Square is the main city center plaza in Albania’s capital city, Tirana, and is named after Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti, commonly known as Skënderbeg. This historic square served as a key viewing location for Albania’s senior military and government officials, American diplomats and Tirana residents.
“As the most recent nation to join the world’s strongest alliance, North Macedonia is proud to have strategic bombers from our NATO Ally, the United States, flying overhead,” said Slavjanka Petrovska, Minister of Defense of the Republic of North Macedonia. “Their European presence underscores the strength and cohesion that exist between and among NATO’s 30 nations.”
North Macedonia government and military officials viewed the strategic bombers from the Government Building of the Republic of North Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje.
“America’s resolve to support our Allies in southeastern Europe and our collective efforts with NATO have, indeed, never wavered,” said Gen. James Hecker, USAFE-AFAFRICA and AIRCOM Commander. “We will continue to ensure mutual protection of the freedom that all of our nations cherish.”
As already reported, four US Air Force (USAF) B-52H Stratofortress bomber aircraft, Airmen and support equipment from the 5th Bomb Wing arrived in the US European Command area of responsibility to train with US Allies and partners on Aug. 18, 2022.
The deployment of strategic bombers to the UK helps exercise RAF Fairford as United States Air Forces in Europe’s (USAFE) forward operating location for bombers.
Bomber Task Force (BTF) operations are routinely conducted across the European continent, underscoring NATO’s commitment to deterring adversary aggression towards the Alliance.
BTF missions offer a way to routinely assess and evaluate the readiness of strategic assets to safeguard the security and stability of the European area of operation.
For more than 60 years, B-52s have been the backbone of the strategic bomber force for the US. The B-52 is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the US inventory.
Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Jordan Lazaro / U.S. Air Force
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