B-1 bomber from Ellsworth flies in major NATO exercise

A B-1B Lancer takes off from Ellsworth Air Force Base, Oct. 29, to participate in Trident Juncture 2018. With more than 40,000 troops from 31 nations taking part in the exercise, Trident Juncture is the largest NATO exercise since 2002. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. (KEVN) – An Ellsworth B-1 bomber flew a "global reach" mission as part of Trident Juncture 18, the largest NATO exercise in more than a decade.

The 28th Bomb Wing B-1 crew flew the mission entirely from Ellsworth, taking off Monday and then returning to the base after flying over Norway. The majority of the B-1’s flight was over NATO countries and through international airspace.

“Trident Juncture is a chance for us to exercise with our NATO partners and allies, and it allows us the opportunity to demonstrate our resolve,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Griffith, the 34th Bomb Squadron commander. “If one of our NATO partners was to be attacked or needs support from the U.S., we can respond in a short period of time.”

Trident Juncture 18 is currently under way in Norway and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea; as well as around Iceland, Finland and Sweden.

The exercise involves more than 40,000 military people from 31 ally and partner nations; 14,000 from the U.S. The B-1 bomber is among 250 aircraft, 70 ships and thousands of vehicles in the exercise.

Trident Juncture 18 began Oct. 25 and continues through Nov. 7.