Leaving No Leaf Unturned

The Air Force announced last month that it is preparing its environmental assessment of the impact of potentially basing a new operational squadron of B-52H bombers at Minot AFB, N.D. The study of the environmental impact is required by US law prior to the Air Force making a final decision. The service would like to bring a unit of 11 combat-coded B-52s plus two back-up aircraft to Minot. The move would bring about 1,000 airmen to Minot and require some on-base renovation and construction. Establishing the new unit would give the Air Force four operational B-52H squadrons and would support the new nuclear-centric rotation of B-52s under the service’s Global Deterrence Force construct. While the unit hasn’t formally been designated yet, it may very well end up as the 69th Bomb Squadron, according to prior press reports. The squadron would be part of Minot’s 5th Bomb Wing and would pair with the wing’s existing 23rd BS. The Air Force’s other two operational B-52 squadrons are the 20th BS and 96th BS, both at Barksdale AFB, La., under the 2nd BW. The period for public comment on the Minot basing proposal goes until May 21.