DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A realignment ceremony was held here Sept. 28, signifying the 7th Bomb Wing’s transition from Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command set to occur on Oct. 1.
The realignment marks a milestone in streamlining the Air Force organizational structure, placing all responsibility for active-duty bombers under a single command by moving the Air Force’s B-1B Lancer fleet and Long Range Strike Bomber program from ACC to AFGSC.
“This morning we take the first step in writing another chapter in the history books as 8th Air Force reunites all strategic bombers under a single command,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Clark, 8th Air Force commander.
The consolidation of the entire long-range strike capability under one unified voice is intended to facilitate collaboration, promoting crosstalk between all three bomber platform maintainers and aircrew. Further, it allows for one voice for advocacy for bombers, a move that will enhance the bomber community in years to come.
The directive to realign the Air Force B-1 fleet and LRS-B program stems from the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of staff and follows the review of the nuclear enterprise that recommended to place all strategic bombers under a single command. As AFGSC has grown as a major command over the past six years, the addition of the B-1 is logical to continue expanding tactics, techniques and procedure development to leverage the capabilities each bomber platform has to offer. The realignment will also enable AFGSC to effectively balance conventional and nuclear requirements across the entire long-range strike fleet.
“One of the main things that the B-1 brings to AFGSC is flexibility as a conventional-only bomber,” Clark said. “The expertise for conventional bombing really does lie in the B-1 community.”
While changes experienced by Dyess and Ellsworth will be minimal and administrative in nature, these bomber Airmen can anticipate joint training opportunities that will allow pilots and maintainers of various platforms to integrate. There will also be no changes in physical assets or operational tempo across the B-1 family, which will continue to support combatant command requirements.
“By returning to 8th Air Force, we’ll have the chance to once again combine the lessons and knowledge from all three of America’s bomber fleets and to reestablish a bomber ethos that is so central to the identity of the United States Air Force,” said Col. Michael Bob Starr, 7th BW commander.
For many, the realignment represents a return to its heritage, since the B-1 has spent the majority of its existence under Eighth Air Force.
“7th Bomb Wing, welcome home,” Clark said.