PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii --- As part of the continuing demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies against the growing threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs, two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam conducted a 10-hour sequenced bilateral mission with South Korean and Japanese fighter jets, July 7.
The mission is in response to a series of increasingly escalatory actions by North Korea, including a launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 3.
“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” said General Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander. “Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”
The B-1Bs flew to the Korean Peninsula where they were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets and U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets. The B-1Bs practiced attack capabilities by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.
“U.S. bombers and Republic of Korea fighters are just two of many lethal military options at our disposal,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, U.S. Forces Korea deputy commander. “This mission clearly demonstrates the U.S.-ROK alliance remains prepared to use the full range of capabilities to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and region.”
En route back to Guam, the B-1Bs flew and integrated with Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) F-2 fighter jets over the East China Sea.
“The U.S.-Japan alliance and the relationship between our militaries are stronger than they have ever been,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, U.S. Forces Japan commander. “We continue to train with our Japanese allies to ensure we are ready to defend ourselves from attack.”
U.S. Pacific Command maintains flexible bomber and jet fighter capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, retaining the ability to quickly respond to any regional threat in order to defend the U.S. homeland and in support of our allies.