- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Long-range bombers, including the B-52s from Minot Air Force Base, have been providing continuous bomber presence in the Pacific since early 2000.

Minot AFB has two B-52 squadrons in the rotation: the 23rd and the 69th bomb squadrons. Members of the 69th recently returned from the deployment at Andersen AFB in Guam, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/2esTFfc ) reported.

Maj. Ken Sterling of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB said B-1 bombers pulled out of the Continuous Bomber Presence, often referred to as CBP, in approximately the 2006 timeframe until about two months ago when the B-1s returned to the rotation.

“The mission itself is a deterrence of potential adversaries,” Sterling told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee at a recent meeting at the Minot base. The continuous bomber mission also is a reassurance to U.S. allies and defending national security interests in that region.

Sterling said the “big picture” when personnel from Minot AFB’s 5th Bomb Wing deploy to Guam is they go there for joint training opportunities with other branches of services in the Pacific area of operations.

Tech. Sgt. Lara Miguel III, a public affairs representative with the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, said all three strategic bombers regularly conduct missions in the Indo-Asia-Pacific in support of U.S. Pacific Command.

“During a recent deployment to Guam in August, B-2s from Whiteman AFB, Missouri, deployed in support of the U.S. Strategic Command’s bomber assurance and deterrence missions, while at the same time, B-1s from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and B-52s from Minot AFB, N.D., were deployed in support of the U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence in Guam. The assurance and deterrence missions conducted by the B-2s from Whiteman AFB complimented the Continuous Bomber Presence, said Miguel.

Sterling said the typical deployment from Minot AFB has about 300 military members including aircrew, weapons loaders, maintenance and other support people.

He said the missions of the CBP in the Pacific region have increased extensively.

During the most recent deployment of Minot AFB personnel to Guam, 82 missions were flown, Sterling said. He said this is an increase in the number of missions compared to the first years of CBP when around 30 to 35 missions were flown. “You can see the level of frequency has changed as well as the scope of the missions,” he said.

Also, during the most recent deployment for Minot AFB personnel, he said they did seven exercises with the Navy’s Seventh Fleet.

Sterling said the shortest sorties for them during the CBP deployment is about 10 hours and the longest sorties are about 22 hours. The flight between Minot AFB and Guam is about 14-16 hours.

The B-1Bs from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., replaced the B-52s from Minot AFB in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s

He said the B-1s from the 34th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., will continue in Guam for a time and then the B-52s will eventually roll back into the deployment to return to Guam again.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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