28th Bomb Wing Historian Paul Marcello says, "Our B-1's were conducting operations as early as late September 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks, but as far as Iraqi Freedom, B-1's took part in the air operations that began on the 21st of March 2003, so pretty close to this date, and from that time they participated in nearly daily bombing missions in responding to ground commanders for any close air support."
28th Bomb Wing historian Paul Marcello says the B-1's from Ellsworth have flown about 5% of the missions in Iraq, and roughly 49% of the weapons that have been dropped, were dropped from B-1 platforms.
Marcello says, "It's historically important because the United States has never been in a wartime position for, you know, this extended period of time. Closest thing that we can come to that is four decades ago with our participation in the Vietnam War and, you know, of course anyone that is younger than 50 years old really doesn't have a collective memory of that time period, so this is really unprecedented."
Marcello says Ellsworth's presence is known in the combat theatre, where airmen continue to make great strides. And when asked if Ellsworth has accomplished its mission in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Marcello doesn't hesitate.
Marcello says, "Oh, absolutely, and more so, in fact, we're still doing it today. Of course, we've had some very fantastic technology advancements with the bombers, but we continue to do those operations today in Southwest Asia."