The number of B-52 bombers parked at Minot Air Force Base is going to be dropping over the next month.
And the reduction began today.
Four B-52s took off, headed for a deployment of several months in Guam.
More bombers and a planeload of men and women needed to operate them will also head for the south Pacific island over the next several days.
The deployment is part of the Air Force's ten-year-old plan to keep bombers at Guam to provide faster response on the other side of the globe.
(Capt. Jeffre Nagan, MAFB Public Affairs) "We got members of the 69th Bomb Squadron along with maintainers from various units and support elements from various units here at Minot Air Force Base deploying to Guam as part of our continuous bomber presence, meeting the national security objectives with a continued focus in the Pacific."
Today's B-52 takeoffs were complicated by some snowy weather.
Snow plows were working feverishly to clear the runway and taxiways to assure the safety of the bombers.
After sending B52s to Guam, base personnel will be preparing to re-locate several more of the base's bombers to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
That movement is made necessary by major improvement work to the base's only runway.
(Capt. Jeffre Nagan, MAFB Public Affairs) "With the upcoming construction here at Minot Air Force Base we're trying to ensure that we position our airmen where they need to be to continue to accomplish that mission and reduce the amount of footprint here at Minot."
Work on the runway is scheduled to be finished in October.
After that, the base will welcome back all of its B-52s.