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B-2 Crews Test Deployment Capabilities (Sept. 19)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --- B-2 Spirit bomber crews and support teams are in Guam to participate in Coronet Dragon 49, an exercise to test their deployment capabilities and the ability to fly and fight from a forward location.

The exercise sent airmen from the 325th Bomb Squadron and 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to Guam to demonstrate the global reach of U.S. airpower and the combat capability of the B-2.

Air Force officials regularly conduct global power training missions in the Pacific region to demonstrate the capabilities of U.S. forces.

“Exercises like this refine and maintain our ability to rapidly move airpower assets anywhere in the world in response to national security needs as demonstrated in Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Lt. Col. Steve Basham. He is the 325th Bomb Squadron’s director of operations. “Forward basing allows more rapid turnaround of aircraft, resulting in more missions against targets.”

The exercise is tailored to improve the B-2’s global strike capability and deployment techniques, officials said.

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard aircrews provided KC-135 Stratotanker airlift support for the active-duty troops, Basham said.

“This is a total force deployment exercise,” he said. “Through the total force effort we can accomplish rapid and seamless mobility.”

The exercise also gives airmen practical experience operating from a forward-deployed location. That experience, coupled with the recently developed capability to forward base B-2s and simultaneously operate from Whiteman, allows maximum flexibility to use the bombers to support operations around the world.

“Global Power exercises are performed to assess how we operate without the niceties of home,” said Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Reph of the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “(At a forward location) we have minimal manning, equipment and supplies. When we deploy for real, the airmen will be ready. Someday they will take my place and the Air Force needs them to be ready.”

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B-2 Exercises ‘Spirit’ Through Deployment