Advancing Minot’s Two Bomb Squadrons

According to a June 11 release from Minot AFB, N.D., the Air Force assistant vice chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, met the first week in June with the North Dakota Congressional delegation and city of Minot officials to discuss USAF plans to add a second squadron of B-52s bombers to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot. The plan, announced earlier this year as part of the service’s recommitment to strengthen its nuclear mission operations, would bring an additional thousand airmen to the North Dakota facility, increasing the base’s impact on the local community. In a statement, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who invited Klotz to Minot, noted the economic impact, but declared, “Best of all, we can say with confidence that Minot Air Force Base will remain a vital part of the nation’s defense as an operating station for our country’s long-range bombers.” The base has operated under a shadow following last year’s mishandling of nuclear-equipped cruise missiles and subsequent ouster of several top officials and recently failed to pass a nuclear surety inspection, but Air Combat Command boss Gen. John Corley expressed full “confidence” in the wing and its ability to pass a follow-up NSI in 90 days.