One Under the Belt

Some 250 airmen and six B-52s from the 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D., are returning home after completing a five-month deployment to Andersen AFB, Guam. It was the first-ever deployment for the unit, which is USAF’s newest B-52 squadron. These airmen and machines operated as the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. Their presence on the island was meant to deter aggression in the region and give them unique training opportunities with US and partner nation forces in the Western Pacific. “Seeing this new squadron grow in experience and ability, and watching it build its own identity and culture during this deployment was one of the best experiences of my Air Force career,” said Lt. Col. Michael Cardoza, 69th EBS commander. Replacing the Minot contingent on Guam is an expeditionary B-52 force from the 96th BS at Barksdale AFB, La. (Andersen report by A1C Whitney Tucker)