RAF FAIRFORD, U.K. --
Local media outlets and military leaders from the U.S., the Royal Air Force and European allied nations came here June 12 to view history in the making.
Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, was on hand to host the visiting officials and to address gathered media at the distinguished visitor and media events.
“The hospitality of our friends in the Royal Air Force continues to be exceptional, and you truly are a testament to the amazing relationship of our two great nations,” Clark said.
While in Europe, three B-52H Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and three B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., will integrate with U.S. and Allied forces to showcase the strength and interoperability of the joint and coalition teams. These jets will also conduct bomber assurance and deterrence operations in the theater with two B-2 Spirit bombers, here from the active duty-Air National Guard total-force team at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.
Clark spoke to attending media about the “all-star lineup” of bombers and Airmen, which represents the core global strike mission, and their ability to bring the flexible strike capability to Europe.
“The bomber team before you today confirms the credibility of our forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any time in our history,” said Clark. “[B-52s and B-1s will] participate in multi-national exercises like Arctic Challenge, Saber Strike and BALTOPS in order to demonstrate how our team of allies can rapidly amass at a time and location of our choosing to deter and defend against any possible aggression.”
Also in attendance to speak to the media was Chargé d’Affaires Lewis Lukens, who serves as chief operating officer of the U.S. mission to the U.K. in London. His attendance underscored the importance of the international relationships and the shared commitment to peace, security and prosperity between the United States and the U.K.
“The closeness of the U.S. and U.K.’s security partnership not only benefits our two nations, but it serves as a pillar of strength for the NATO alliance today,” said Lukens. “This deployment of strategic bombers to the United Kingdom is a clear demonstration of that enduring commitment.”
While operating from Fairford in the various planned exercises and operations, the three bomber aircraft are training with partner nations to reinforce interoperability and to deter further aggression in the region.
“Deployments like these underscore our commitment to support our NATO and European allies through readied and postured forces focused on deterring conflict,” said Clark. “The phenomenal deployment of this combat airpower is the visual manifestation of the adage ‘you don’t have to be everywhere at once, as long as you can be anywhere at a moment’s notice.’”
These deployments are necessary to ensure readiness and validate the vigilance of global strike capability.
“Together our two countries stand in defense of freedom, as demonstrated daily through our two militaries’ training and fighting together around the world,” said Lukens. “This shared history, our shared values and our shared commitment to our NATO allies will enable us to confront the challenges of the next 100 years.”
Bomber deployments and operations like those projected from here provide valuable training for U.S.-based Global Strike Airmen to familiarize themselves with different geographic areas of operation.
“U.S. Strategic Command forces are on watch 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, seven days a week for our nation and our allies,” said Clark.”