Days after China conducted a military drill with fighter jets and an aircraft carrier near Taiwan, the US Air Force conducted its own 'show of force' demonstrating defense readiness with an 'elephant walk' of bombers on Anderson Air Force Base in Guam on Monday.
Guam lies about 1,800 miles east of China, home to a continual rotation of America's long-range bombers, which provide rapid global strike capability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The elephant walk, which involved a dozen or more aircraft taxiing in tight formation just prior to rapid take-offs, also came amid ongoing North Korean aircraft drills marking the birthday of the nation's founder, Kim Il Sung - Un's grandfather. On Tuesday Pyongyang further conducted what were described as multiple cruise missile launch tests.
American military officials confirmed in tweet that multiple bombers, including B-52 Stratofortresses, performed the display of strength which "showcases their commitment to ensure regional stability throughout the Indo-Pacific," at Andersen Air Force Base.
#ICYMI A @USNavy MQ-4C Triton, @usairforce RQ-4 Global Hawk, B-52 Stratofortresses, and KC-135 Stratotankers at Andersen AFB, Guam, perform an Elephant Walk April 13, 2020. The Elephant Walk showcases their commitment to ensure regional stability throughout the Indo-Pacific. pic.twitter.com/LUDdzh6a1k— PACAF (@PACAF) April 14, 2020
Previously Taiwan's Defense Ministry confirmed that the Chinese PLA carrier Liaoning was accompanied by five warships to make a provocative pass through the Miyako Strait, which is between Japan's islands of Miyako and Okinawa northeast of Taiwan over the weekend.
Perhaps most interesting is that Stars & Stripes, the premier US military news source, linked Monday's elephant walk with the Pentagon's recent attempts to assure the American public and the world that it remains in a full state of preparedness despite the coronavirus pandemic striking the US hard, which has for weeks now been the global epicenter.
Stars & Stripes reports:
With the USS Theodore Roosevelt sidelined nearby due to the coronavirus, the U.S. military on Guam exhibited a reminder of its deep bench this week in a region where global powers compete.
Fourteen aircraft paraded in a formation known as an “elephant walk” along the runway at Andersen Air Force Base on Monday. Among them were five B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers; six KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refuelers; an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter; and two unmanned aerial vehicles: an Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk and a Navy MQ-4C Triton.
Chinese state media over the weekend bragged that its PLA forces have 'defeated' coronavirus and remain intact and force ready.
"A Chinese naval flotilla headed into the Pacific over the weekend, evidence that the People's Liberaty Army Navy has done a much better job controlling coronavirus than the US Navy, according to a story posted on the PLA's English-language website," CNN reported, citing PLA English-language media.