An Ohio Air National Guard KC-135 aerial tanker refueled a U.S. B-1B Lancer on a night mission the bomber flew in the region of the Sea of Japan near the Korean peninsula on Oct. 10, according to reports.
The flight of two B-1Bs was the first time the bombers had flown with two South Korean and two Japanese F-15 Eagle fighter jets at night, according to a U.S. Pacific Air Force statement.
The military flights come in the midst of rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions, with the United States and the communist country trading threats over igniting a war with the other.
An Air Force photograph shows one of the bombers refueling at night from the tanker boom of the 121st Air Refueling Wing from Rickenbacher Air National Guard Base near Columbus.
The wing deployed 40 to 50 airmen to Anderson Air Force Base, Guam — from pilots and refueling boom operators to maintenance workers and intelligence specialists — as part of a temporary rotation, wing spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Courtney J. Haviland told this news outlet.
“While in the region, we conduct a series of pre-determined exercises, based on the security needs, and also training needs,” she said in an email. “The current deployment is part of a regular rotation schedule for tanker support. Our show of force however, is a reflection of our Airmen and their dedication to training to always be ready in a time of need.”