Heading a Veteran’s Day parade, the US Air Force will showcase a Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber plane and two F-22 raptor fighter jets in a flyover above downtown Koror tomorrow, at 11am.
The spectacle will be part of a day-long celebration hosted by the US Embassy and the US Armed Forces Veterans Association of Palau, which will otherwise include a private memorial service at the gravesites of Palauan veterans, a parade through downtown Koror at 11:15am, and a Veteran’s Day Ball at Palau Royal Resort, starting at 6pm.
The three aircrafts will take off from Anderson Air Force Base in Guam tomorrow morning, accompanied by a KC-135 Stratotanker to refuel the fighter jets on their flight to Palau. Air Force pilots manning the aircrafts will be in communication with US Embassy and Air Force personnel who will be situated on a rooftop in Koror.
Representatives of the US Embassy have suggested that people in Koror line the streets around 11am, “listen for the rumble, and look up”.
The Lancer bomber, the largest of the aircrafts with a wingspan of 137 ft, is a heavy bomber designed for “executing global conventional bombing”, according to US Air Force Captain Katie M. Mueller of the 36th Wing. The smaller F-22 raptor stealth fighters, which have a wingspan of 45 ft but can reach speeds of 1,500 mph, are designed to provide “air power worldwide on short notice”, said Captain Mueller.
Although all three are temporarily based in Guam, the B-1 bomber is permanently based out of the 9th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. The two raptors are based out of the 94th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, which is in charge of one-third of the Air Force’s combat raptors.
Palau has recently seen a heightened amount of military activity, with US Air Force personnel currently assessing Palau’s airfields in Airai, Peleliu, and Angaur for serviceability.
The Air Force flyover, as well as the rest of the Veteran’s Day events, will serve to “commemorate over 66 years of Palauans serving in the US Armed Forces”, says the US Embassy.