Barksdale B-52s Complete Task Force Deployment

B-52s from Barksdale Air Force, La., closed out a monthlong deployment to Spain with a pair of long-distance training missions, one over the Arctic and the other over Africa.

Bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing took off June 17 for a “cross-combatant command” training mission, working with Norwegian joint terminal attack controllers while flying through the Arctic Circle and into the northern Pacific, then heading home to Barksdale, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa release. The number of aircraft in the operation was not given.

“Our unparalleled global strike capability is the backbone of our combat-credible force,” said USAFE boss Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian. “That force is the foundation of our extended deterrence strategy that safeguards both U.S. security and that of our allies and partners.”

The flight covered 12,000 miles and took 27 hours to complete. Tankers from RAF Mildenhall, England; Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.; Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and Travis Air Force Base, Calif., provided fuel.

The following day, more B-52s took off from Moron Air Base, Spain, flying to Morocco before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to return to Barksdale. It was the third time the B-52s flew to Africa during the task force deployment, USAFE said in a release.

“The final two days of flights over Morocco and through the Arctic are great examples of our team’s range and flexibility,” Harrigian said. “My hope is that our air operations over the last month have demonstrated our unwavering commitment to our European and African partners and sent the message that we are invested in creating opportunities to grow together.”

The task force flew more than a dozen missions during the monthlong deployment, including a flight that took them over all European NATO nations May 31.