A C-17 crew on a recent airdrop mission over Afghanistan diverted to escort a disabled B-1 Lancer to a safe landing back at the B-1’s operating base in Southwest Asia. “We were working a complex situation on the ground with some guys taking some fire and we lost our navigation instruments,” said Capt. Gavin O’Brien, 34th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron B-1 pilot deployed from Ellsworth AFB, S.D. He continued, “The C-17 heard us having some trouble in the radio and offered to bring us home.” After command and control relayed the bomber’s coordinates, the airlifter detoured 150 miles to lead the Lancer home to its undisclosed air base outside of Afghanistan. “They were up there flying blind more or less” and “had no way of navigating back out of country,” explained Capt. Justin Taylor, C-17 commander assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, who’s on a deployment from JB Charleston, S.C. (Southwest Asia video report by SSgt. Jose Rodriguez)
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.