By Mike Wheeler
Jet Junkies Live was live at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK for a press conference about the B-52s currently on operations at the base. There were three speakers, these were Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian (Deputy Commander U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces in Africa), Col. Ron Cheatham (Vice Commander 501st Combat Support Wing) and Lt.Col. Mike Esposito (Director of Operations for the 340th Weapons Squadron).
Here is a brief summary of what they had to say.
The first speaker, Lt.Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, opened saying thank you to the host and how appreciative they are to RAF Fairford for the services they deliver, this appreciation was also extended to the 501st and the 2nd bomb wing. He then spoke about how the six B-52’s and 200 Staff give a potent and unique air power capability to Europe as well as NATO and Allied Nations. Following that he spoke about how the B-52s will operate from the Arctic to the Sahara Desert to show how the USAF and their allies can amass to deter and defend against possible aggressors. Lastly he spoke about how this operation is the biggest since Operation Iraqi Freedom where they had 17 B-52’s stationed at RAF Fairford in 2003.
Our Second speaker was Lt.Col. Mike Esposito who also expressed his thanks to RAF Fairford as well as the 501st, 420th base Squadron as well as the town of Fairford and the surrounding area. He added what an honour it is to lead a U.S bomber task force where so many iconic air power innovators served before.
Lt.Col. Esposito then spoke about this deployment which will validate their readiness and capability with allies, so that their airmen can become familiar with European airspace procedures and to enhance their skills to operate within Europe. Our Final speaker was Col. Ron Cheatham who said that RAF Fairford is the premier Forward Operating Base (FOB) and hoping to keep that standard moving forward by meeting US and NATO Objectives.