Since 2004, the Pentagon has carried out what it calls the Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) mission, in which it maintains a wing of strategic bombers on the Philippine Sea island. However, for the first time in 16 years, there are no US bombers on Guam.
Online aircraft tracker AircraftSpots reported the departure of five B-52H Stratofortress bombers from Andersen Air Force Base on Thursday, but according to The Drive’s The War Zone, no aircraft have yet arrived to replace them. Alongside B-52s, the Air Force has previously stationed B-1B Lancers and B-2 Spirit bombers, the latter of which is capable of carrying nuclear weapons, as is the B-52.
The incident is all the more remarkable since the huge jets participated in an “elephant walk” show of force earlier this week – albeit without the one-by-one rapid takeoff.
US Air Force Major Kate Atanasoff, a US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) spokesperson, told The War Zone that US bombers would continue to “operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region from a broader array of overseas locations … at the timing and tempo of our choosing.”