B-1Bs conduct task force mission in support of SOUTHCOM


By 1st Lt. Kaitlin Cashin

7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


B-1B Lancers departed Dyess Air Force Base Sept. 7 in support of a bomber task force mission to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

During this mission, B-1 aircrews integrated with partner nations in the USSOUTHCOM AOR, air refueled with the support of MacDill AFB tankers, and countered illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing operations off the coast of Ecuador in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands.

“This kind of regional military engagement strengthens our partnership with Ecuador and Panama and enhances interoperability and improves our collective readiness for a range of potential future operations – from disaster relief to humanitarian assistance to security operations. When our forces train alongside one another we improve our ability to work together in times of crisis,” USSOUTHCOM leadership said.

U.S. Air Force pilots and weapons system officers, assigned to the 307th and 7th Bomb Wings, gear up before flight at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas Sept. 7th, 2022. During their mission, crews conducted counter illicit Chinese fishing operations off the coast of Guatemala. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

“There are certain things that only Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen can do, and this is one of them. Based on the Airmen we have in this room, we can fly this mission and then turnaround and regenerate in a matter of hours – we make it look easy, but it’s tough work,” said Col. John C. McClung, 7th Operations Group commander.

The 7th Bomb Wing embraces the unique challenge of BTF missions. This sortie marks the fourth BTF mission this year to include one BTF deployment to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, one CONUS to CONUS mission to the INDOPACOM AOR, and most recently a CONUS to CONUS mission to the U.S. Africa Command AOR.

Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th BW commander, congratulated the aircrews on their departure and pointed to the strategic significance of the mission. He said, “We are in competition in our own hemisphere. These bomber missions demonstrate our ability to respond to threats in today’s complex, dynamic and volatile global security environment anytime, anywhere.”

Air Force Global Strike Command routinely conducts BTF operations across the globe with and in support of the geographic combatant commands. This mission is representative of the U.S. commitment to our partners to maintain regional security and stability while enabling units to become familiar with operations in different regions.

A B-1B Lancer aircraft assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 927th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill AFB, Florida, over the Caribbean Sea, Sept. 7, 2022. The air operations between 12th Air Force and Air Mobility Command were part of a Partner Interoperability Training exercise with Panama and Ecuador to grow capacity, enhance the ability to respond to illegal fishing practices and maintain shared interest in regional security. Multilateral engagements such as this one ensures maximum resource efficiency and enable the consistent training between U.S. Southern Command, component command and partner nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Hastings)