B-52 Pilots Participate in Rapid Launch Exercise - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

B-52 Pilots Participate in Rapid Launch Exercise

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  Minot Air Force Base is home to 26 B-52 bombers.  And, as part of a week long activity, 17 aircrafts from both Minot and Barksdale participated in a rapid launch exercise today to test a full spectrum of deterrent capabilities.

            It's just before 8 am, the sun is starting to rise at Minot Air Force Base while maintainers, security forces, and operators are getting ready for a rapid launch exercise of B-52 bombers.

            "Simply making sure a jet flies is one thing,” said Captain Jeff Nagan, Minot Air Force Base 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs Officer.  “But, being able to provide it in an expeditious manner and launching them consecutively would be how we would respond to a real world threat.  So, we want to make sure that we are able to do so in a training environment such as this."

            Once everything was clear, 17 aircrafts from both Minot and Barksdale were notified to start up their planes and head for the flight line.

            Captain Nagan said, "It's a wide array of personnel from both bases to come together to ensure our mission capabilities and readiness to be able to respond to a potential threat."

            "It's pretty exciting to see all of these aircrafts take off at the same time," said Airman First Class James Terry.

            For Terry, it was his first time actively participating in an exercise like this. 

            "I'm an air traffic controller.  And, it's our job in part of this exercise to make sure that the aircraft gets off safely and efficiently," said Terry.

            Captain Nagan said, "We regularly do train like this exercise to ensure our capabilities providing a full spectrum deterrence capability in a theater or wherever a commander may ask at a moments notice."

            But, with 17 bombers taking off in roughly an hour, it can get stressful.

            "There's a lot going on in the tower cab,” said Terry.  “You have to make a bunch of phone calls and coordinate with a bunch of people, so it gets pretty hectic at times.  But, we stay on top of it."

            When it was all said and done, the exercise was a success.  There were no major mishaps or errors reported.

            Captain Nagan says Minot Air Force Base conducts at least one exercise like this every month, which is part of their routine training cycle.

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