Mission Success: Bomber Task Force 23-4 wraps up

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Heather Salazar
  • 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron

Last month, more than 150 Airmen assigned to the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and 3 B-2 Spirit stealth bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base arrived at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland to synchronize efforts with Airmen from the 501st Combat Support Wing, and integrate with NATO Allies across Europe to engage in Bomber Task Force missions. 

Through their collaborative efforts, the units and Allies showcased the remarkable adaptability inherent in a coalition force and the collective capabilities of the team. Their combined endeavors not only served as a robust assurance of security but also as a powerful deterrent against potential aggressors targeting the Alliance, extending this protective umbrella over Europe and projecting it across the global landscape.

As Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe; U.S. Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Command, said in the Bomber Task Force 23-4 initial release, “In resolute unity, the U.S. upholds our nation’s commitment to foster peace and stability in Europe, unwaveringly collaborating with Allies and partners to thwart challenges against the sovereignty of nations across the region."

Since the start of BTF 23-4, the team has logged over 312 flight hours, resulting in five local sorties, 18 ferry sorties, and 22 higher headquarters missions completed. They integrated into Red Flag Alaska 23-3, synchronized with  the 48th Fighter Wing’s F-35 Lightning IIs, teamed up with the Norwegian air force JTACS and Special Forces, and completed eight hot pits around Europe. The 393rd EBS completed its first low approach flight over Greenland, and integrated with the Icelandic coast guard, U.K. Royal air force, Norwegian air force, and the Portuguese air force to secure more than 19 million square miles of the European region. The team also completed a more than 17 hour mission over Arctic air space, integrating with U.S. Indo-Pacific Air Forces Command and U.S. Northern Command to operate within the Arctic region.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our team.  Our Icelandic hosts have been phenomenal and we’ve solidified an already-strong relationship with our Norwegian allies,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andrew Kousgaard, 393rd EBS commander. “Our teammates from across USAFE have integrated seamlessly, providing highly effective support, and enabling a successful deployment.  We are, without a doubt, a more ready squadron because of our time in Iceland.”

Worldwide, U.S. Strategic Command regularly coordinates BTF operations, not only to demonstrate the United States' dedication to collective defense but also to smoothly mesh with operations carried out by America's Geographic Combatant Commands. This BTF initiative was created to strengthen USEUCOM's security objectives throughout Europe, while also giving aircrews the chance to familiarize themselves with the complexities of joint and coalition operations in foreign areas.

As the B-2's tenure at Naval Air Station Keflavik concludes, the activities carried out by the 393rd EBS establish a concrete connection between U.S. Air Force personnel and their counterparts in the operational theater. This linkage fosters cooperative training, ultimately enhancing interoperability and emphasizing the United States' steadfast commitment to the region.

Information and imagery related to BTF 23-4 can be found on DVIDS at: https://dvidshub.net/feature/bombertaskforceeurope.