4th B-52H Squadron On Active Duty
Air Force officials have
reactivated the 69th Bomb Squadron Sept. 3 at Minot Air Force Base.
The new unit is the fourth operational B-52H Stratofortress
squadron in the Air Force and joins the 23rd Bomb Squadron as the
second squadron at the North Dakota facility.
The new squadron was established to provide each B-52 wing with
two active-duty combat coded squadrons, which will give the Air
Force "bench depth" to rotate the squadrons across the mission sets
as recommended in the Defense Science Board Report.
Barksdale AFB, La., has two operational B-52H units, the 20th
Bomb Squadron and the 96th Bomb Squadron. The much-anticipated
stand up was previously announced in 2008 and extensive studies
were conducted to determine which base the unit would best fit.
Minot AFB was announced as the home and the 69th BS was designated
for reactivation Aug. 28.
"The activation of the 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot Air Force
Base is a historic event that continues the legacy of the
distinguished 69th Bomb Squadron," said Maj. Gen. Floyd L.
Carpenter, the 8th Air Force commander. "In World War II, the 69th
Bomb Squadron deployed A-26 and B-26 bombers to Australia and the
South Pacific. And during the Vietnam War, the 69th Bomb Squadron
stepped up to the plate and deployed B-52 aircraft to Guam and
Thailand. Now more than 65 years after its initial activation, the
69th Bomb Squadron returns to provide deterrence forces and help
balance the demands of both the nuclear and conventional missions
of the B-52 fleet."
Photo Courtesy U.S. Air
"The 69th has close ties with the 5th (Bomb Wing), and is
definitely a logical choice," said Lt. Col. Kevin J. Notari, 5th
Operations Group Det. 1 commander. "Both units fought
simultaneously out of two different locations in the Southwest
Pacific theater during World War II. Furthermore, the unit was the
first Air Force unit to fly night low-level combat sorties during
the first three days of Desert Storm."
As a result, 10 B-52 aircraft from Barksdale AFB will flow to
Minot AFB between October and April 2010.
There won't be a significant number of personnel that will flow
with the aircraft, as personnel for the new squadron will flow in
gradually through the normal (permanent change of station) process
and support from the 23rd Bomb Squadron.
"This activation is a measure of the confidence our nation has
in the men and women of Minot Air Force Base," said North Dakota
Gov. John Hoeven. "The 69th Bomb Squadron will bring approximately
1,000 new military members and their families to the state and will
be a major asset to the community, Minot Air Force Base and our
nation," he added.
The squadron is expected to mirror the other three currently
established active B-52 squadrons. As the squadron builds up, many
of the resources and functions from the 23rd BS will be shared
including training, exercises and deployments.
Minot AFB B-52 File Photo
"This adds flexibility to the Air Force Global Strike Command
mission," said Maj. William Byers, the 5th OG Det. 1, chief of
standard evaluations. "The 69th allows for an even distribution of
operations tempo between the 2nd Bomb Wing and 5th BW, and at the
same time, supports the persistent presence in United States
Pacific Command," he added. This will help refine and focus nuclear
mission training for B-52 units and is part of continued Air Force
efforts to reinvigorate the nuclear enterprise.
ANN Salutes by Tech. Sgt. Lee Osberry Jr. 5th Bomb Wing Public