501 CSW hosts BTF tour and press conference

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jennifer Zima
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

The 501st Combat Support Wing command team hosted U.S. and U.K. dignitaries for a Bomber Task Force press conference at RAF Fairford, England, Oct. 20, 2021. 

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers, Airmen and support equipment from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, deployed to RAF Fairford in support of the Bomber Task Force - Europe 22-1, to train with U.S. allies and partners. 

“The 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron’s presence demonstrates our ability to project combat power from this strategic air base,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Filler, 501st Combat Support Wing commander. “We provide unparalleled mission support to receive, bed down, and sustain deployed forces to enable U.S. and NATO objectives. The 501st is postured to assure our allies, deter our competitors and defend those things that we hold dear. The ability to train with our joint and international partners is vital to our mutual defense.”

Some of the visiting dignitaries included: Ambassador Philip T. Reeker, U.S. Embassy London Chargé d’Affaires, Admiral Charles “Chas” Richard, U.S. Strategic Command Commander, Air Marshal Andrew Turner, RAF Deputy Commander Capability, and Air-Vice Marshal Suraya Marshall, RAF Air Officer Commanding Number 2 Group.

The mission highlights the U.S. military’s ability to conduct integration training with partners and allies. This deployment of strategic bombers to the U.K. demonstrates the flexibility, readiness and global deterrence of the U.S. The deployment is also scheduled to include joint and allied training in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command theaters to improve bomber interoperability. Training with joint partners, allied nations and other units enables us to build enduring and strategic relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges.

“It was really an honor to be invited here today and to get a front row seat to the extraordinary work being done and performed here,” said Ambassador Reeker. “Thank you to every single one of you, not only for taking the time to show me around today and to explain the details of your mission, but also for the work you do every single day in the service of peace, prosperity and security for America, the United Kingdom and all our allies.”

RAF Fairford was built in 1944 in preparation for the D-Day landing on Normandy. Ambassador Reeker’s grandfather was one of those service members who landed on the beaches of Normandy June 6, 1944. 

“The fact that almost eight decades after it was first built we’re still here conducting operations from RAF Fairford, with Americans and Brits working together to reassure each other and our NATO allies and deter potential adversaries...well, I think that says everything you need to know about this enduring special relationship between our two countries,” said Reeker. “There really is no relationship like this anywhere else in the world. Even though the United States has many valuable allies, our closest defense partner in the world is without doubt, the United Kingdom.”