The B-52 bomber presence up at Andersen Air Force Base will soon see a new squadron as the Barksdale Air Force Base crew will be heading home. "I get to fly an airplane, it's what I've wanted to do, what most people want to do, since I was a young child," said Captain Jordan Filer.
But the B52 Bomber is not like every other airplane. Filer is a pilot on rotation here in Guam of the B-52 - a long range, heavy bomber capable of flying at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and of carrying nuclear or precision guided weapons with world wide navigation capability.
As articulated by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Asian and Pacific Security, Derek Mitchell, having a continuous presence in the Western Pacific shows our allies in the Asian Pacific theater presence of force. "Guam is going to be a critical component as it is today, of that shaping function, that reassurance function and deterrence function as we get more and more concerned about where North Korea might go," Mitchell said. But North Korea is just one challenge. Captain Filer says the mission is broader.
Training was extensive for pilots like Filer who say the b52's collaborated in combat search and rescue missions using their targeting pod to aid in a variety of non descript missions with the Navy. While Captain Filer will return with his unit and the B52 bomber to its base in Barksdale, LA, its sister B52, part of the 20th bomb squadron will replace it later this month, leaving no base unmanned. He said, "We are here as part of that credible deterrence. Just by being here as part of our normal rotation, back to the continuous bomber presence to show this part of the world and the Western Pacific, it provides that capability to the Air Force."