Two B-2 stealth bombers flew more than 6,500 miles nonstop to drop inert bombs on a South Korean training range on March 28 as part of the ongoing bilateral Foal Eagle exercise, announced US Forces Korea officials. The airplanes, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., left their home station, released the munitions on the Jik Do Range, and then returned to Whiteman, they said. US Strategic Command tasked the B-2s to demonstrate the US commitment “to defend the Republic of Korea and to provide extended deterrence to our allies in the Asia-Pacific region,” states the USFK release. They showed the US capability “to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will.” The mission came at a time when the communist North Korean regime continues its bellicose rhetoric and threats of aggression. It marked the first time that B-2s have dropped munitions on the South Korean range and was also the stealth bombers’ first participation in Foal Eagle, 509th BW spokesman Capt. John Severn told the Daily Report. B-2s earlier this year deployed to Guam from Whiteman for a training stint, but have since returned home and did not participate in Foal Eagle, said Severn. Earlier this month, B-52s stationed at Guam flew training sorties over South Korea. (See also Hagel-Dempsey transcript.)
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.