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CNN Join U.S. Military Crew In An Exclusive B-52 Bomber Mission; Billions Of Cicadas Are Set To Appear In A Rare "Double Brood Emergence." Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 12, 2024 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: What`s up, superstars? Happy Friyay. Let`s get our minds right, make the most of these moments, and soak in some knowledge

and information. Remember, what is within influences what happens without.

I`m Coy. This is CNN 10. And we start by taking you to experience the exclusive access we gained onboard one of the jewels of the U.S. Air Force

fleet, the B-52 bomber. CNN was the first news organization to be given access to a B-52 and its command center.

We were onboard as the B-52 flew one of the longest military missions in the world, a 33-hour, 13,000-mile journey from Louisiana to Japan and back.

Boeing built the B-52 to carry bombs, and it can drop the widest array of weapons of any jet in the Air Force, including nuclear weapons. But on this

flight, the jet was unarmed.

That`s because the point of this mission was deterrence, to show other nations, both adversaries and allies alike, that the U.S. is still the

preeminent force dominating the skies. The military began using B-52s in 1955, and many of the planes still in operation were built several decades

ago. And as you`ll see in this exclusive news report, these old planes can sometimes show their age. CNN`s Oren Liebermann has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: MYLAR11 0933 lander (ph) 330 --

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Under the shroud of predawn darkness, flight MYLAR11 roars out of Louisiana`s Barksdale Air

Force Base. It`s the start of one of the longest military missions in the world, a nonstop 33-hour flight by this B-52 strategic bomber group to the

other side of the world, flying near Russia, China, North Korea and back.

LIEBERMANN (on camera): As you can see, it`s dark outside. The cockpit has red light once again for the night vision here.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): CNN is the first news crew ever allowed on one of these extensive B-52 missions.

CAPT. BO "NATO" CAIN, WEAPON SYSTEM OFFICER: Not only are we one of the most visible and flexible legs of the nuclear triad, we can have a B-52

where you need it, when you need it, within 48 hours.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): These flights are intentionally high profile. Two years into the war in Ukraine, as Russia challenges the U.S. and NATO, the

Kremlin is meant to know about our bomber flight. So is China with Beijing pressuring Taiwan, and Chinese coast guard vessels harassing ships of the

Philippines, a U.S. ally.

MAJ. GEN. JASON ARMAGOST, COMMANDER, EIGHTH AIR FORCE: Both the national leadership of Russia and the national leadership of China, what do they

react to? We see that they publicly comment about our bomber task force missions, particularly when it involves others in very joint and public


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tanker1, contact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bomber1, contact.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Five hours into the flight, we had our first for aerial refueling is off Alaska`s coast, taking on as much gas as we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep track of your own fuel state. I`d like for you guys to be with us all the way to Yankee Zulu Papa.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): After an hour of formation flying during this refuel, we arch out over the Pacific and towards Japan.

LT. REBECCA "VULCAN" MOORE, ELECTRONIC WARFARE OFFICER: It`s important that we communicate to our partners that we mean what we say, when we say

that we`re committed to our alliances. That`s an example of what the B-52 does. We show up when we`re asked.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): This 63-year-old Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, decades older than its crew shows its age but it remains the Air Force`s

primary bomber, taking part in every U.S. war since Vietnam with planned upgrades to its antiquated systems, it will see nearly a century of

service. This year, the U.S. began producing its next generation B-21 Bomber. China is close behind promising their H-20 strategic stealth bomber

will be unveiled soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty seconds to the turn. Zero five zero.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Onboard MYLAR11, we passed by Russia`s East Coast, closer meeting up with U.S. and allied fighter jets. Our flight is

unarmed. Their mission is not to attack but to prevent attack, to deter. But this is a bomber of course. If we were carrying nuclear weapons, the

Air Force would monitor the flight and the joint nuclear operations center back in Louisiana. Seen here on news camera for the first time. It`s a 24/7

operation tracking all ballistic missile silos and airborne nuclear weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ready to fly?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, your jet.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): It is a marathon of marathons to put the B-52 and its crew virtually anywhere in the world.

LIEBERMANN (on camera): At this point, we`ve passed the halfway point of the flight. We`ve been in the air more than 15 hours. It`s the middle of

the day here in Japan where we`re overflying at the moment, en route to the mission area where we`ll meet up with fighters from several other countries

here, and carry out an exercise.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Here on the edge of the East China Sea, fighter jets from Japan and South Korea take up formation off our wings. Hours

earlier during our flight, North Korea testified a mid- range ballistic missile, a reminder of the threats in the Pacific.

LIEBERMANN (on camera): You want to be seen by both allies and adversaries.

COL. MICHAEL MAGINNESS, COMMANDER, 2ND BOMB WING: We want to be seen by allies and adversaries.

LIEBERMANN: It is still a head turner --


LIEBERMANN: -- when you take it around the world.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): But it`s China that the U.S. is watching most closely. In October a Chinese fighter jet intercepted a B-52 flying over

the South China Sea at night, coming within 10 feet of the bomber. By number of ships, China has the world`s largest Navy, soon have the world`s

largest Air Force according to the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Beijing is rapidly modernizing its military including its strategic forces

and they`re not part of any non- proliferation treaty obscuring their nuclear assets.

After 19 hours of flying and 14 more to go, a warning light signals trouble with one of the planes main engines. The crew runs through the checklists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Throttles, number five.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Confirmed five.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): They make the decision to shut down the engine. There is no panic, just a management of risk. Nearing the 30- hour mark of

the flight, we see our second sunrise over Washington State`s Mount Rainier.

LIEBERMANN (on camera): And although the crew is tired, they all know there`s still a critical task ahead and that is getting the B-52 back on

the ground. And that is one of the most difficult parts of the mission.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): On final approach, the B-52, which has been in the air nearly 15 hours longer than the longest commercial flight in the

world has one final surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One gear not down?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Affirm. Right main gear is not down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and emergency extend it.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Flight MYLAR11 touches down at 3:00 in the afternoon after 33 hours in the air, a mission that showed the abilities

and the age of a jet that remains critical to the Air Force.

CAPT. JINAN ANDREWS, PILOT: Despite how many years the B-52 has been running. She is a tough girl.


WIRE: Pop quiz, hot shot. Which one of these insects are among the loudest in the world?

Bees, grasshoppers, crickets or cicadas.

If you said cicadas, well done. These insects that can be as big as your thumb are known to produce sound up to 100 decibels. That`s as loud as the

revving engine of a motorcycle from just a few feet away or being next to a speaker at a concert.

Did you know that this spring a phenomenon that happens only once every 221 years will occur? That`s right. Billions of cicadas are set to emerge. It`s

being called cicadapocalypse.

Why is this event so rare? Well, two different broods or groups of periodical cicadas, which only emerge every 13 or 17 years, are set to

surface around the same time. The noisy insects will populate the Midwest and Southeast of the United States for about six weeks, starting sometime

in mid-May. And even though the cicadas will be loud and maybe a little freaky looking, they pose no physical threat to humans or pets.

For today`s story getting a 10 out of 10, we have a nautical vessel that takes the term houseboat to a whole new level.

You are seeing a two-story home floating across the San Francisco Bay. It was one of several dozen houseboats forced to pull up anchor and set sail

after a local marina where they were docked, lost a legal battle with the state. Talk about peer pressure.

They needed some anchor management. But turns out it was just a fleeting moment. The houseboat reportedly found a new permanent port in Sausalito.


All right, mateys, let`s spread some good vibes this weekend. I`ll start by showing some love to our Trojan friends over in Sparta, Missouri, right on

fight on, Sparta Middle School. This is Sparta.

And how about our huge shout-out to our Vikings at East Bridgewater Junior and Senior High School in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Rise up.

Don`t underestimate your power to make someone`s day this weekend. Remember, you are more powerful than you know. I`m Coy Wire. We are CNN 10.

It`s been a blessing to spend this week with you.