9th EBS concludes BTF Europe operations
By Airman 1st Class Colin Hollowell, 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron Public Affairs
/ Published March 30, 2021
ØRLAND AIR FORCE STATION, Norway --
Editor’s note: The names of Airmen are being omitted to preserve their security.
The 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron completed a Bomber Task Force Europe deployment on March 23, 2021.
The bomber unit operated out of Ørland Air Force Station, Norway, where they conducted a series of strategic training missions while integrating with 11 NATO allies and partner nations in the European and Arctic theaters.
The 9th EBS passed several significant bomber milestones during this historic BTF, such as the first bomber unit to deploy to Norway, first B-1 hot-pit and warm-pit refuels in the European theater, and the first time a B-1 has landed in Poland.
“The amount of integration that has occurred here has been comprehensive,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Stallsworth, 9th EBS commander. “We have achieved integration on all levels, tactically, operationally and strategically”
Being the first time a bomber squadron has deployed to Norway, the 9th EBS faced a number of obstacles.
“It’s been challenging,” said Stallsworth. “B-1s typically don’t operate in this kind of weather and all of our Airmen have done an amazing job working through such dynamic challenges here.”
Working through the unique challenges has honed the skills of the 9th EBS while solidifying their capabilities to deploy and integrate with ally and partner forces in a variety of theaters and airspace.
“I feel like the biggest thing that we have demonstrated here is the NATO alliance capability and the agility of the B-1 bomber,” said Stallsworth. “Taking a B-1 from the continental United States and operating out of the High North is something that nobody has ever done before. We’ve proven to the world that we can do it and we do it well.”
Following their departure from Ørland AFS, two B-1s participated in Amalgam Dart, a joint integration training mission consisting of a series of potential real-world scenarios designed to bolster U.S. aerospace warning and defense readiness.
During Amalgam Dart, the B-1s were intercepted by two F-16 Fighting Falcons while integrating with a NATO E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System.
“This mission served as a demonstration of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command’s ability to support combatant commanders anywhere around the globe,” said the 9th EBS Director of Operations. “Amalgam Dart was launched from a neighboring combatant command, showcasing AFGSCs readiness to operate outside of the United States. The NATO integration demonstrates their commitment to the United States and our mission to defend our homeland.”