A lone 5th Bomb Wing B-52 Stratofortress launched on a 24-hour training sortie, striking simulated targets in France and Germany from its home station at Minot AFB, N.D., announced Minot officials. Refueling four times en-route, the B-52 dropped simulated joint direct attack munitions and unguided munitions as part of a multinational exercise in France, and worked with NATO joint tactical air controllers over Germany, during the late May mission, stated the officials in Minot’s June 12 release. “Flying a long-endurance sortie is outstanding training for aircrew, since it forces them to train in a very real combat-like environment after flying for a long time to get to the area of responsibility,” said Capt. Jarred Prier, 5th Operations Support Squadron mission commander. “Crews often fly long-endurance sorties on our Guam deployments, but this particular mission was a rare opportunity,” he added. The crew linked up with a French air force KC-135FR for fuel, and scrimmaged with French fighters along the way, according to the release. (Minot report by SrA. Jessica McConnell)
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.