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Tue, Sep 08, 2009

Air Force Reactivates 69th Bomb Squadron At Minot

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 Force

"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 Affairs

FMI: www.af.mil

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