The Pentagon is sending six long-range bombers to the Pacific island of Guam on a show-of-power mission.
The Air Force's Air Combat Command in Langley, Va., said Wednesday that six B-52 bombers and six B-2 Stealth bombers would arrive in Guam by Sunday.The warplanes will be accompanied by 250 airmen, tanker aircraft and support equipment, an Air Force statement said.
The aircraft "will carry conventional munitions and participate in training operations in the Pacific region," the statement said.
Pentagon officials denied there was any reason for the warplanes to be moved other than for the purposes of training. "It's a short-notice, air-power exercise," said one official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said the movement was not connected to recent U.S. attacks against terrorist training sites in Afghanistan and a chemical factory in Sudan but said those who threaten Americans and U.S. interests might take notice.
The U.S. military has been on a heightened alert since the missile strikes. And Japan's military went on increased alert Thursday, three days after North Korea tested a long-range missile in a flight path that carried it over Japanese territory and into the Pacific Ocean.
Pentagon officials said the movement of the B-52s and B-2s would display U.S. air power and its ability to deploy quickly from U.S. shores.