B-2 Spirit stealth bomber set to return for New Year’s Day flyover

by Tommy Grant

Holiday spirit is in the air, and soon, another type of spirit will be as well.

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is set to return to the skies of Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day for the Tournament of Roses after a brief hiatus from the annual flight.

The B-2 flyover will kick off the Rose Bowl football game on Jan. 1, 2024, between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan Wolverines, continuing its tradition with the Tournament of Roses Foundation, according to a statement from the Air Force 509th Bomb Wing.

“We are excited to return to the 2024 Rose Bowl,” Col. Keith J. Butler, 509th Bomb Wing commander at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, home of the B-2 Spirit, said in the release.

The stealth bomber’s reappearance comes after its absence from the sunny skies of California earlier this year, when a pair of B-1B Lancers from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, instead flew over the events.

That flyover followed an incident in December 2022 at Whiteman Air Force Base, when a B-2 malfunctioned in flight and made an emergency landing, causing the entire nuclear bomber fleet to stand down for a safety check. That eventually ended in May after months of safety inspections.

A B-2 bomber task force deployed to Iceland over the summer, marking a return to routine operational rotations after the mishap late last year.

In case one missed a glimpse of Santa Claus gliding through the air earlier this week, be sure to catch the B-2 in action as it delivers a last dose of festive spirit for everyone — even to those who were naughty.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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