Pathfinders enable first Bomber Task Force in Sweden

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Zima
  • 501CSW/

U.S. Air Force Airmen have deployed to Sweden to provide Base Operating Support Integrator (BOS-I) capabilities for Bomber Task Force 24-2, currently underway at Luleå-Kallax Air Base.

Airmen from the 501st Combat Support Wing, along with units from U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, are working alongside B-1B Lancer bomber crews and maintenance personnel from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, as well as the Swedish Armed Forces, Air Force Global Strike Command, NATO Allies and other international partners. The collaboration aims to synchronize capabilities and assure security commitments across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.

Some of these Pathfinders visited Sweden prior to the BTF in order to plan operations with the Swedish Air Force. Pathfinders have several roles in this BTF, including communications, contracting, force support, force protection, logistics, airfield operations support, transportation management, operations and maintenance.

“We aimed to ensure that the deployed operators and maintainers were focused on generating airpower,” said Lt. Col. Amanda Altman, 422d Communications Squadron commander. “Everything else, from lodging to communications to logistics and maintenance of War Reserve Material, was handled by the 501 CSW and other USAFE/AFAFRICA deployers. We arrived ahead of the main body to lead reception and bed down of forces, and we will provide support through re-deployment of cargo, aircraft, and personnel.”

Training with other nations allows Airmen to gain exposure to different military doctrines, fostering valuable skills and relationships crucial for addressing complex global challenges. Collaboration with U.S. Allies and partners is key to developing future operational capabilities.

“The Swedish have been phenomenal partners for us throughout the planning and execution of this BTF and we have learned a lot about considerations for operating in the high north,” said Altman. “It’s been awesome watching Swedish and American Airmen work side-by-side tackling any challenges that arise, integrating at every possible opportunity and learning so much from each other.”

BTF operations offer strategic options for U.S. leaders to support Allies and partners and deter aggression globally.

“The 501 CSW Pathfinders can bed down forces and provide premier BOS-I anywhere, anytime,” said Altman. “The more experience we get, the more lessons learned, and the better we get at our bread and butter of combat support.”