Thousands of residents spotted several B-52's leaving Barksdale Air Force Base on Thursday and now we can tell you why.

A bomber task force of four B-52'S and about 350 airmen began a deployment to RAF Fairford in England.

The Air Force reports the crews will conduct training with European allies and partners in the region. Global Strike will also practice how it conducts bomber operations from a forward operating location.

(Master Sgt. Ted Daigle/Air Force)

The release also says:

The aircrews will conduct integration and interoperability training with European allies and partners in the region during their deployment, the Air Force said. It will also allow Global Strike to practice how it conducts bomber operations from a forward operating location.

By training with their counterparts in allied or partner militaries, the airmen in the task force become familiar with how operations are carried out in different parts of the world.

B-52s were last at Fairford in April, when a task force of six Stratofortresses from Barksdale’s 2nd Bomb Wing concluded a months-long deployment. It was the largest deployment of a single bomber platform since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.