Some 300 airmen and a group of B-52s from the 69th Bomb Squadron are scheduled to depart Minot AFB, N.D., this week for Andersen AFB, Guam, reported KFYR TV of Bismarck. This expeditionary force will help provide stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region for the next half year as part of the continuous bomber presence that the Air Force maintains on Guam. It will relieve an expeditionary unit of airmen and B-52s from Barksdale AFB. La., that rotated to Andersen late last August. This will be the first Guam deployment for more than one-third of the airmen from the 69th BS, said Lt. Col. Matt McDaniel, squadron commander, in KFYR’s March 2 report. Airmen from Minot’s 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 5th Munitions Squadron, 5th Maintenance Squadron, and 5th Operations Support Squadron are also deploying to Andersen, reported the Minot Daily News.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.