A BTF CONUS-to-CONUS mission is a tasking from geographic combatant commanders requesting bomber aircraft to launch from their home unit to conduct an operation in another theater before returning home.
During the 25.5 -hour mission, the long-range strategic bombers flew from West Texas to West Africa.
“Weeks of coordinating and mission planning took place to make this all happen.” Said 1st Lt. Simone Durham, 9th Bomb Squadron pilot and 7th Bomb Wing mission planner, “A complex mission like this only happens when everyone does their job,” she continued, “any time we get to integrate with our partners and allies is a win.”
According to 9th Bomb Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Nathan “Griz” Jenkins, the mission also demonstrated the importance of training and preparation. He said, "Our B-1 aircrew, maintainers and munitions professionals train every day to be ready. It was great to see the 7th BW and 307th BW team work together to execute a very successful, long-range mission to assure our allies in West Africa”.
After taking fuel from KC-10 Extenders from the 305th Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, the aircraft flew south to integrate with Royal Moroccan Air Force F-5 and F-16 aircraft during the final live fire exercise of U.S. Africa Command’s Exercise African Lion.
The supersonic bombers showcased their support in the theater with an inert weapons demonstration for distinguished visitors who represented the 12 countries and NATO that participated in Exercise AFRICAN LION, U.S. Africa Command’s premier joint, all-domain annual exercise.
Following the African Lion demonstration, the B-1Bs flew to Mauritania and worked with the Mauritanian Coast Guard to identify and track illegally operating vessels off the coast, such as those conducting illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing.
Illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing depletes fishers throughout Africa’s coast countries, threatens maritime security, and endangers the African economies that rely on the ocean for their food and trade. U.S. Africa Command assists African partner nations’ efforts to safeguard continued, sustainable use of maritime resources and enable maritime trade.
Assuring partners through mission readiness is a key priority for Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th Bomb Wing Commander. He said, “The 7th Bomb Wing’s dynamic demonstration of long range airpower in Exercise African Lion and our efforts alongside our Mauritanian and Moroccan partners exemplifies that we are ready to provide agile combat employment in support of combatant commands across the globe.”