The 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas, and the 28th BW at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., will hold realignment ceremonies on Monday, marking the transition of the B-1 fleet from Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command. The move means the Air Force’s entire bomber fleet—the B-52, B-2, and B-1—will be consolidated under the command of 8th Air Force, but for the roughly 7,000 airmen involved, the transition should be relatively seamless, 8th AF (Air Forces Strategic) Commander Maj. Gen. Richard Clark told Air Force Magazine. “They will wear a different patch, but aside from that it won’t be a significant change,” said Clark. However, “behind the scenes, we’ll have more consolidated advocacy for long-range strike, and a consolidated center for strategic thought for long-range strike and standoff weapons.” Even though all three of the service’s bombers are “unique weapon systems,” Clark said “the core competency of long-range strike is something common to all” and the B-1 transition will help “build some synergy” within the bomber community. He said, “in general this is a really great move for the Air Force,” one that brings 8th AF “back to our heritage.”
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.