B-52 Aircrew integrates with JTACS during Bomber Task Force

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Kaitlin Cashin
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

The 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron aircrew integrated with Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the 1st Air Support Operations Group in the areas surrounding Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of the Bomber Task Force deployment in the Indo-Pacific region.

“B-52 Stratofortress aircraft are capable of providing close air support to ground troops in one of two ways: bombs on target, and bombs on coordinates,” said Capt. Chris Robertson, 96th EBS B-52 aircrew commander. “By working with our JTAC counterparts, we were able to simulate that process and refine communication between our teams.”

The six-man aircrew flew over waters surrounding the island of Guam, while the JTACS, took turns calling in various targets and simulated munitions drops. The JTAC crew, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, consisted of both Army and Air Force non-commissioned officers who operated from the ground.

“We are always looking for opportunities to train with different airframes,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jesus Gonzalez, JTAC team lead. “Success through teamwork is the only way to win when it comes to precision bombing in this region. By refining our teamwork in sorties like this, our joint approach to close air support becomes a winning game.”

“Operations like this serve to familiarize aircrews and our ground forces with procedures and communication in a different Geographic Combatant Command,” Robertson said. “It is because of our routine integration in missions like this that we are able to confidently say we’re ready and able to protect the freedom of our partners in the Indo-Pacific when and if our allies ever need us to.”

The 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-52 teams are based out of Barksdale AFB, Louisiana and are traveling in support of a Bomber Task Force deployment in the Indo-Pacific. The BTF serves to enhance interoperability, refine tactics, techniques, and procedures, and assure allies and partners in the region.