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U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirits return to Europe

A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit aircrew performs pre-flight checks in the cockpit of their aircraft at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit aircrew performs pre-flight checks in the cockpit of their aircraft at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

Airmen assigned to the 131st Bomb Wing prepare a B-2 Spirit for takeoff in support of a Bomber Task Force deployment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. BTF deployments provide Airmen the chance to work with other combatant commands and practice new procedures and operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

Airmen assigned to the 131st Bomb Wing prepare a B-2 Spirit for takeoff in support of a Bomber Task Force deployment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. BTF deployments provide Airmen the chance to work with other combatant commands and practice new procedures and operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 Spirit crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron prepares a stealth bomber for takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 Spirit crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron prepares a stealth bomber for takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

A crew chief assigned to the 131st Bomb Wing marshals a B-2 Spirit onto the flightline at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners in joint and coalition operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

A crew chief assigned to the 131st Bomb Wing marshals a B-2 Spirit onto the flightline at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners in joint and coalition operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, readies a B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, readies a B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, readies a B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 crew took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is a total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, readies a B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 crew took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is a total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air Force crew chiefs assigned to the Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing ready their B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air Force crew chiefs assigned to the Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing ready their B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, salutes B-2 Spirit pilot before takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 "Spirit of Washington" launched from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, salutes B-2 Spirit pilot before takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 "Spirit of Washington" launched from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, signals a final good luck hand signal to a B-2 Spirit pilot before takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 "Spirit of Washington" launched from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, signals a final good luck hand signal to a B-2 Spirit pilot before takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 "Spirit of Washington" launched from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron performs final steps of a B-2 Spirit pre-flight check at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is a total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)
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U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron performs final steps of a B-2 Spirit pre-flight check at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is a total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, gives a thumbs-up hand signal to a B-2 Spirit pilot before takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)
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U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, gives a thumbs-up hand signal to a B-2 Spirit pilot before takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Larry Brown, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, readies a B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)
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U.S. Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Larry Brown, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, readies a B-2 Spirit for flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131st Bomb Wing is the total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, gives a thumbs-up hand signal to fellow crew chiefs during a B-2 Spirit pre-flight check at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is a total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)
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U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Justin Aeckerle, a B-2 crew chief assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, gives a thumbs-up hand signal to fellow crew chiefs during a B-2 Spirit pre-flight check at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 took off from Whiteman AFB to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. The 131s Bomb Wing’s 131st MXS is a total-force partner unit to the 509th Bomb Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

A B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber takes off at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners in joint and coalition operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)
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A B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber takes off at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners in joint and coalition operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

A B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber takes off at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners in joint and coalition operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)
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A B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber takes off at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 8, 2020. The B-2 is slated to support U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force operations in Europe. These missions provide opportunities to train and work with our allies and partners in joint and coalition operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

STUTTGART, Germany --

A Bomber Task Force deployment of B-2 Spirit stealth bomber aircraft from the 509th Bomb Wing and the 131st Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Base, Missouri, arrived at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, on Mar. 9, 2020 for a deployment to conduct theater integration and flying training. KC-10 Extenders from 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst provided aerial refueling capability in support of the transit across the Atlantic Ocean.  

The aircraft will operate out of various military installations in the U.S. European Command’s area of responsibility. Strategic bomber deployments to Europe provide theater familiarization for aircrew members and demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners. 

Integrating with our NATO Allies and theater partner nations, as well as other U.S. Air Force and joint units, contributes to our ready and postured forces and enables us to build enduring and strategic relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges.

The 65th Air Base Group at Lajes Field is strategically located to provide support in combat operations by enabling the expeditionary movement of war fighters, warplanes and global communications to combatant commanders and supporting Joint, Coalitions, and NATO operations.