On Wednesday, the pair of long-range B-1B Lancer strategic bombers flew from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, but this time, one of the bombers landed at Osan Air Base, approximately 75 miles from the North’s border.
When the US Air Force bombers flew last week, Pyongyang mocked the show of force saying, “they are bluffing that B-1Bs are enough for fighting an all-out nuclear war.”
But US Air Force Maj. Gen. Steven Basham stressed the importance of US Pacific Command’s continuous bomber presence in the region.
“A US presence is absolutely required, certainly as we talk to our allies and assure our allies that we will always be there for them,” Basham, a command pilot with more than 3,400 flying hours in the B-1, B-2, and B-52, told Business Insider.
“It really does get back to the point of we are always, always, always prepared and constantly training.”
And training in Guam, a tiny island roughly five times smaller than Rhode Island in the middle of the Pacific, plays to the strengths of the bombers.
“Bombers in general are well-suited to the vast distances and challenges of the Pacific,” Lt. Col. Seth Spanier, commander of the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, said in a statement. “The B-1 bomber is specifically suited for the Pacific region.”
Guam, one of the most strategically important bases in US Pacific Command’s portfolio, also offers unique advantages for bomber pilots.
“Of course Guam is US territory, so the nice part about it is that you’re still inside the United States and we get to train in some of the best environments,” Basham told Business Insider.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman said the rogue regime is ready to conduct an additional nuclear test at any time.
“Assessment by South Korean and US intelligence is that the North is always ready for an additional nuclear test in the Punggye-ri area,” spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said, according to Reuters.