The Air Force’s iconic B-1B Lancer returned to the Pacific for the first time since 2018 to send a message to America’s adversaries while also testing crews’ response to sudden deployments.
Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., head of Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, discussed the exercise — a 30-hour round-trip flight to Japan that originated at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota — on Friday.
“From confronting invisible threats of a global pandemic to addressing military aggression and coercive activities, we remain a lethal, innovative and interoperable force focused on a shared vision of upholding a free and open lndo-Pacific,” he said in a press release, Military.com reported.
The 28th Bomb Wing’s “Dynamic Force Employment” skills testing also required six U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons, seven Japan Air Self Defense Force F-2s and eight JASDF F-15s over Draughon Range near Misawa, the website added.
Gen. Tim Ray, head of Air Force Global Strike Command, echoed Gen. Brown Jr.’s message.
“This mission is a demonstration to our friends throughout the region: We will continue to remain fully predictable in our commitment to ensuring peace, while also demonstrating that we have the ability to operate from numerous locations across the globe, even during the global pandemic,” Gen. Ray said.
Correction: Ellsworth Air Force Base is located in South Dakota.