The latest, February issue of AFM includes an exclusive insight into US Air Force B-1B operations during combat missions in the Middle East.
Ashley Wallace was granted access to the secretive base at Al Udeid, Qatar for a rare look at the Lancer at war and spoke to Lt Col Erick Lord, the commander of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS), here under the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) at the base known as ‘The Deid’. Deployed from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, Lord commands a team of more than 75 B-1 aviators who provide the ultimate symbol of US air power in the region in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.
Receiving his commission in September 2003, Lt Col Lord graduated from Joint Specialised Undergraduate Navigator Training and the B-1 Formal Training Unit, before operational assignments at both Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota and Dyess AFB, Texas. Lt Col Lord is now a ‘senior navigator’ with more than 2,500 hours in the B-1 of which more than 1,500 have been flown in combat. He has deployed four times to Southwest Asia in support of ongoing US commitments.
Lt Col Lord explained: “The presence and capabilities of the B-1 serve as a deterrent for any would-be aggressor while ensuring our allies in the CENTCOM region have the will and ability to defend national and allied interests. The air force’s only non-nuclear bomber – the B-1 – provides a highly versatile, multi-mission weapons system that carries the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the air force inventory. The B-1’s unprecedented persistence, range and weapon flexibility provides a strong deterrent to regional foes, while providing unrivalled support to combatant commander objectives and protection to the region.”