Global Power in the Pacific

Air Force Global Strike Command B-2s and B-52s played large roles in two very high profile events over the past 18 months. The first was the successful 38-hour B-2 global power mission from Whiteman AFB, Mo., to South Korea during last March’s Exercise Foal Eagle. The second was last November’s flight of two Guam-based B-52s through China’s newly declared air defense zone over the East China Sea. In a recent interview at his Barksdale AFB, La., headquarters Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson told Air Force Magazine there was a “lot of discussion” between the US Strategic Command commander and the Chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs on how to respond to North Korea. “The thought was, we have a dual capable bomber from the US that can send a very powerful message,” Wilson said. Showing up at noon over Osan AB, South Korea, flanked by an F-16, ensured the event would be highly visible and those on the ground would “communicate it.” With the ADIZ sortie, Wilson said AFGSC had rotated B-52s to Andersen AFB, Guam, for years and would routinely fly training sorties from the island as part of an effort to demonstrate a “very visible signal of US strength and power” to both allies and potential adversaries. The ADIZ flight was a “normal training mission” to and from areas around the Korean Peninsula that was directed by US Pacific Command’s Adm. Samuel Locklear and Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle, said Wilson.