B-52s return to flying after runway repairs

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE The B-52s and their crews at Minot Air Force Base will be flying again.

Col. Alex Mezynski, commander of the base’s 5th Bomb Wing, said the runway has been closed for a couple of weeks for repair work but reopens this week. In the meantime, he said, it gave them a chance to do some delayed maintenance on the jets.

“But everybody’s ready to get the B-52s flying again,” Mezynski told members of the Minot Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee Thursday. The meeting was held in the Doolittle Center at the base.

Minot AFB hosts a number of distinguished visitors during a year and one of those groups is a French delegation that was scheduled to arrive this past Thursday night and visit the base Friday.

Summer is the season of change-of-commands for units at the air base.

Mezynski, giving a report on the 5th Bomb Wing, said of 16 squadrons, eight are changing commanders. He said three change-of-commands have been completed as well as one of the four group commanders also changed.

Col. Kevin Cullen, commander of the 91st Missile Security Forces Group, said the missile wing, too, is busy with distinguished visitors coming to the base and change of commands this summer.

He said the month of May was spent in the missile complex on flood mitigation as all the snow melted and all the rains came. “That’s a very big effort we do in the springtime,” he said. He said everything is fine and no missiles got wet.

Capt. Steven Bohl, officer in charge of the North Dakota National Guard’s 164th Engineer Battalion, said about 270 N.D. National Guard members are mobilized for federal duty and of that number, 200 are in the United States. The rest are overseas.

Bohl said the annual training this year will be held in July at the Guard’s training area near Garrison. “We’re staying local around Minot this year and will support a lot of local communities and businesses there,” he said.

This year’s Military Appreciation Day at Roosevelt Park Zoo has been set for July 3, according to Bruce Carlson, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, and John MacMartin, president of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event is for active-duty and retired military members and their families. A meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the zoo. There will be free admittance to the zoo, pool and waterslide.