Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz on March 9 formally approved the plan that makes Air Force Reserve Command’s 93rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB, La., the B-52H formal training unit. Plans call for the FTU to achieve initial operational capability no later than Sept. 1 and to be fully operational capable by Dec. 1. “From the Reserve perspective, this is an outstanding opportunity to enhance our involvement in the B-52 mission and further support the Air Force’s top priority,” the nuclear mission, said Lt. Col. Jeff Swanson, B-52 program element monitor at AFRC headquarters. As we reported in our earlier coverage, the 93rd BS, a component of AFRC’s 917th Wing, will convert from a combat-coded unit to the training schoolhouse, taking over B-52 training from Barksdale’s active duty 11th BS, which is a part of the 2nd Bomb Wing. As part of these changes, the 93rd BS B-52 complement will double from eight to 16, and 400 airmen from the 2nd BW will be reassigned to support the FTU under an active-associate arrangement. Meanwhile, four Reserve aircrews from the 93rd BS will form a classic association with the 2nd BW and will maintain their combat proficiency. (Includes Barksdale report)
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.