MINOT’s B-52 STRATOFORTRESS BOMBERS DEPLOY FOR COMBAT OPERATIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 12 YEARS

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23rd Bomber Squadron sent a number of B-52s to the Middle East, in support of U.S. Central Command’s Operation Inherent Resolve 

Taken on Jan. 31, 2017 in the airspace above North Dakota, the cool photos in this post show a B-52H Stratofortress crew from Minot Air Force Base (AFB), North Dakota, performing a training mission in a close air support (CAS) scenario in preparation to support Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

In fact as explained by Senior Airman Justin Armstrong, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs, in his article 5th Bomb Wing Members Deploy in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, more than 400 Airmen from the 5th Bomb Wing (BW) recently deployed to the Middle East, in support of U.S. Central Command’s Operation Inherent Resolve. The 23rd Bomb Squadron (BS) sent a number of B-52H Stratofortresses to take over day-to-day operations, which will be the first time in 12 years aircraft from Minot AFB have deployed in support of combat operations.

As told by Capt. Erik Nelson, 23rd BS B-Flight commander, prior to this deployment the unit underwent an intensive spin-up plan. Moreover they capitalized on lessons about performing the mission, which they learned from the 20th and 96th Bomb Squadrons who have, and are currently deployed to the U.S. CENTCOM area of responsibility.

“I couldn’t think of a better squadron to deploy with,” pointed out Nelson, who will undertake combat operations for the first time. “I think I can speak for the entire squadron when I say we are well-prepared and ready.”

The 23rd will lead the 5th BW, flying combat operations out of the Middle East.

“The Bomber Barons are 100 percent ready,” said Lt. Col. Michael Maginness, 23rd BS commander. “They are experts in the mission sets that they can expect to execute downrange.”

Noteworthy, the 23rd BS will celebrate their hundredth anniversary during this deployment Maginness said.

“One of the greatest honors I can think of is serving your country in combat,” said Maginness. “I can think of no better way to cross the century mark, than answering our nation’s call – as the 23rd has been doing since 1917.”

Actually the squadron is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force (USAF), its origins dating to 16 Jun. 1917, being organized at Kelly Field, Texas. It deployed to England as part of the American Expeditionary Forces, being engaged as an aircraft repair squadron during World War I. The unit saw combat during World War II, and became part of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the Cold War.

Today, the mission of the 23BS is to fly the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress long-range bomber. The squadron stands ready to deploy and fly its B-52Hs to enforce national security policy by being ready to deliver overwhelming nuclear or conventional firepower to destroy targets, worldwide, at any time.

Photo credit: Senior Airman J.T. Armstrong / U.S. Air Force