The folks at the Shreveport (La.) Times paid tribute to the Jan. 16-17, 1991, B-52 mission officially named “Senior Surprise” in its Jan. 16 edition. (The Times, very kindly, listed the 1994 Air Force Magazine article on same at the top of its “read more” listing.) Senior Surprise—known by those who flew it as Secret Squirrel—featured seven B-52 bombers, launching from their home base at Barksdale AFB, La., to fly the then-longest combat mission to strike opening targets for Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. The bombers were carrying the newly developed AGM-86C Conventional Launched Cruise Missile for its first combat deployment.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.