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Barksdale Airmen deploy to Qatar to combat ISIS

By Senior Airman Curt Beach 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


More than 15 years ago, America was shaken by the most devastating terrorist attacks in our nation’s history. Though the enemies who now threaten America’s welfare may have changed, their intentions are similar.


More than 350 Airmen from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, from Sept. 6-10, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The mission of Inherent Resolve is to defeat DA’ESH, the terrorist organization commonly referred to as ISIS, to increase regional stability.


The team of Airmen is a composite force with representation from the 11th Bomb Squadron, 20th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Squadron, and the 2nd Operations Support Squadron. While deployed, they will be combined under the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.


The 96th EBS has participated in numerous operational training exercises in preparation for this deployment to include Green Flag East and Red Flag 16-02 and 16-03. This operational level training in conjunction with local training has prepared aircrews for current combat operations.  


“The 96th EBS has trained hard over the past six months and is ready for combat,” said Capt. Matt, 96th BS, who wished to keep his full identity disclosed for security reasons. “We are excited and cannot wait to integrate and support our coalition partners in Operation Inherent Resolve, our continuing fight against ISIS.”


Barksdale’s B-52 Stratofortresses have been operating out of Al-Udeid Air Base since April of this year, when they replaced the B-1 Lancers for precision-guided bomb attacks against DA’ESH.


“The B-52 is well equipped for the current fight,” said Capt. Matt, who’s taking part in his first combat deployment. “We have a long loiter and large payload which enables us to drop a host of precision and near-precision munitions.”


This deployment will also incorporate the first use of the B-52’s new CONECT modification in combat which increases communication and situational awareness capabilities.


One Airman on the team was charged with stepping up for a wingman at the last minute.


“I became a part of the team yesterday to fill a buddy’s spot who couldn’t make it,” said 19-year-old Airman 1st Class Pedro Aquiningoc, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, as he packed his gear to board the jet. “I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my girlfriend and her daughter, and even though it’s not going to be easy, I know I’m needed. We have freedom to protect. This is what it’s all about. It’s why we joined.”