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Minot Air Force Base to Deploy B-52 Bombers

U.S. Air Force Airmen from 96th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron execute air operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Feb. 13, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jordan Castelan)
U.S. Air Force Airmen from 96th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron execute air operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Feb. 13, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jordan Castelan)

MINOT, N.D. — B-52 bombers from Minot Air Force Base will deploy to the Middle East for combat operations for the first time in 12 years.

Minot's bombers are replacing bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the Minot Daily News reported.

The Air Force announced last year that it would be sending B-52 Stratofortresses into the battle against the Islamic State group. The Barksdale Air Force Base bombers were the first ones sent, according to the Air Force.

The B-52 is a long-range bomber, capable of flying high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It can perform an assortment of missions and is capable of dropping or launching the widest range of weapons in the U.S. inventory.

"The B-52s are heavily engaged in bringing the fight to the enemy," Col. David Ballew, vice commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, told the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce during a meeting last week.

The 23rd Bomb Squadron and 69th Bomb Squadron are located at the base in Minot. They are units of the 5th Bomb Wing, which recently received the Omaha Trophy from U.S. Strategic Command for top bomber wing.

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