Within Reach

Four B-52 bombers made history March 6 when they simultaneously hit mock targets at four separate training ranges spread out across an 11,200-square-mile perimeter during an exercise from Andersen AFB, Guam. Called Quad Lightning, the mission was the first-ever of its kind in the Pacific since USAF has maintained a continuous bomber presence on the island to dissuade aggression in the region. The four bombers dropped a total of eight simulated and two live weapons. “Flying four sorties to different regions of the area of responsibility with simultaneous times over target demonstrates our capability to strike anytime and anywhere, with overwhelming firepower,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Matthews, commander of the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. The B-52s arrived in late February at Andersen, replacing four B-2As that had been there since late October 2007. One of the B-2As crashed Feb. 23 as the stealth bombers were leaving the island to return to Whiteman AFB, Mo. (Includes Andersen report by A1C Erica Stewart)