Thune, Noem Weigh In on North Korea Situation

International diplomacy is hitting closer to home for South Dakotans

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- International diplomacy is hitting closer to home for South Dakotans.

Two bombers recently deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City conducted joint air drills with Japanese and South Korean forces this week.

The bombers took part in the joint exercise close to the Korean peninsula Tuesday as tensions escalate amid North Korea’s continued missile tests.

The show of force is something both Senator John Thune and Representative Kristi Noem say is important to let North Korea know America is taking the threat seriously.

“I’m grateful that this threat that we’re seeing out of Korea is being taken seriously so we can tamp it down before it turns into something bigger,” said Rep. Noem.

More than 350 South Dakota airmen were deployed to Guam in late July with a mission to strengthen security and stability in the Indo-Asian-Pacific region.

“The B1’s are a powerful deterrent I mean if you want to have something that extends deterrents send the B1’s into some of those area because they have extensive range they have tremendous payload they’re capable of delivering tremendous amount of fire power and great lethality,” said Sen. Thune.

The action on the peninsula for now is being considered a “show of force”.
But Thune says Ellsworth’s bomb squadron is ready to answer the call to action should one be made.

“North Korea, obviously, is trying to get respect around the world by having a nuclear capability, we have to be prepared to shoot that down,” he said. “I hope it never comes to that, but we have to defend America and American interests.”

As crews prepare overseas, Rep. Noem says work is also being done at home.

“We all have friends and family that are in danger so that’s a huge concern for us. And my job as a member of Congress is to make sure we take good care of them and send them into that battle well prepared and well-funded.”