Friday, October 29, 2010

U.S and Australian Military Participate in 'Land Down Under' Exercise

U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses supporting U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence in the Asia-Pacific region flew from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to the "Land Down Under' to demonstrate the capability and flexibility of the Stratofortress to Australian military partners, as part of Exercise Hamel Oct. 8 through 18.

Participation in Hamel and similar exercises provide an opportunity for Airmen to engage with allies and regional partners, and ultimately contribute toward interoperability, regional stability and security.

"It's a great opportunity to interact with our coalition partners and sister services throughout the Pacific AOR [during exercise Hamel] to train together, learn from each other, and remain proficient at our mission and show U.S. resolve within the region to protect and defend our allies from any potential adversary," said Maj. James Greenfield, bomber liaison officer, 613th Air Operations Center, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The long-duration flights, normally lasting between 11 and 13 hours, allowed the aircrews from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, assigned to the 36th Wing at Andersen AFB, to team up with Australian joint terminal air controllers to conduct close air support training. During this year's exercise, 12 sorties were flown in direct support of the training.

"Such training provides a valuable opportunity for our forces to work together and hone their skills," said Wing Commander Ian Honey, Royal Australian Air Force, assigned to the 613th AOC's Strategic Guidance Team here.

This is the sixth time USPACOM bombers have participated in exercise Hamel. B-2 Spirit bombers completed the first Hamel exercise from Guam in July 2006, while the first group of B-52s completed their first exercise Hamel sorties with the Australian military in October 2006.

Thirteenth Air Force is one of four numbered air forces in Pacific Air Forces. It is located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and provides oversight of two Air force Wings, one air support operations group and 12 additional units in Japan, Alaska and California.

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