JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii—The B-1 show of force flight over South Korea served as a loud introduction to the Pacific for the Bone, which is on its first deployment to the region in a decade. On Sept. 9, a B-1B assigned to the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron on deployment to Andersen AFB, Guam, flew closer to the demilitarized zone than any other B-1 in history. B-1s, from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., are on a deployment to the Pacific for the first time in 10 years after leaving Central Command operations for the first time in a decade, said Lt. Col. Daniel Alford, the director of operations for the 34th. The show of force was “an introduction to the region,” he said. Two B-1s on the deployment flew to Hawaii last week to conduct a demonstration of US airpower for the delegation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which held an informal meeting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter. A B-1 flew alongside two F-22s from Hickam to give the ministers a taste of US air?power. (See also: Power Projection Practice.)
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.