Ellsworth bombers participate in Middle East airstrikes

By: - February 6, 2024 2:17 pm

A B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force Base takes off from a runway at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, on Feb. 1, 2024. (Senior Airman Leon Redfern/U.S. Air Force)

B-1 bombers attached to Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, South Dakota, took part in airstrikes Friday in Iraq and Syria.

“The mission we conducted validated that we can respond to any threat anywhere on the globe,” said a statement from Col. Derek Oakley, 28th Bomb Wing commander at Ellsworth.

The attack struck more than 85 targets with more than 125 precision munitions, according to a news release from Ellsworth.

The action was a response to the earlier deaths of three U.S. soldiers and injuries suffered by dozens of others inflicted by a drone attack in Jordan supported by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, according to the Pentagon.

The B-1 bombers from Ellsworth’s 28th Bomb Wing took off from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, because the Ellsworth airfield remains closed after a Jan. 4 crash.

Ellsworth’s airfield opened temporarily Jan. 25 so several B-1s could fly to Dyess, the Air Force has said, and the airfield closed immediately afterward while the crash investigation continues.

The crash occurred while two B-1s were flying in a training formation. The lead aircraft landed, but the second plane crashed “during the landing phase,” according to the Air Force. All four crew members ejected before the crash and were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

This article first appeared in the South Dakota Searchlight, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner in the States Newsroom network.

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