Lt. Col. Jeff Roetzel with the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron recently passed a milestone in the B-1B, becoming the first pilot to go over 4,000 flying hours in the Lancer, better known among the airmen who fly and maintain it as the “Bone.” Roetzel reached the 4,000-hour mark during an Operation Enduring Freedom combat mission. He acknowledged in an Air Force news release that the first Bone crewman to reach the milestone was a weapons systems officer. Roetzel credits his reaching 4,000 hours with the time he spent flying the B-1B while he served in the Kansas Air National Guard, after leaving active duty in 1996. In 2003, he came back on active duty to continue flying the B-1; he expects to retire from active duty this fall.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.