VIDEO: Russian-Speaking Pilot, and ER Doc, Says Russian Bomber Flight Around Guam “Nothing to Worry About”

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Guam – While the report of Russian nuclear bomber flying over Guam last week was alarming for some island residents and military officials, one Guam resident, who has been inside a bear bomber, doesn’t think the controversial flight is anything to fret about.

Dr. Bob Ryan is a United Airlines pilot who also doubles as an Emergency Room physician at the Guam Memorial Hospital. Dr. Ryan is one of a handful of Americans who’s had the privilege of being inside a Russian Tupolev 95 Bear Bomber, the same aircraft that flew over Guam last Wednesday. His ability to speak Russian coupled with his military and aviator background may certainly be a factor as to how that happened. 

“I guess there’s some camaraderie of pilots regardless of where they’re from and what countries they come from and that sort of thing. I guess just talking to people you know indicating that, hey we have something in common. Can I come out and see what you have out there,” explains Dr. Ryan. “This was not the kind of thing where you could just drive up and get in. You definitely had to talk to people and make arrangements and they had to decide if they wanted to let you in.”

Besides being a pilot himself, Dr. Ryan also frequently travels to Russia. Last summer he found out that some of the Russian airplanes were being housed inside of an air base in Ukraine. He says this is because after the Soviet Union broke apart, the Ukraine government returned its nuclear weapons back to Russia, but kept some of the airplanes–the Tupolev 95 and the Tupolev 160 among them. And as a pilot familiar with aircraft engineering, Dr. Ryan says that the Tupolev 95 Bear Bomber has some striking similarities to American made fighter jets.

“For example, the Tupelov 95 was built by the same company that reverse engineered the B29 at the end of World War 2 to become the Tupelov 4, which was Russia or the Soviet Union’s strategic bomber,” he says.

News of the unwelcome visit was alarming for some residents not only because it was Russian bombers  flying over Guam, but because the timing was suspicious. It happened just before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address forcing Andersen Air Force base to scramble F-15 jets to intercept the Russian bear bombers.

But perhaps the most concerning part was that Guam didn’t hear about it until about three days later in news reports online.

But Dr. Ryan, who has the unique benefit of being both an American living on Guam and a Retired Army Colonel and Air Force Flight Surgeon who frequents Russia and happens to speak the language, doesn’t believe it’s anything to worry about.

“I really don’t feel like we should worry about the Russians. The Russians are relatively well behaved, if you wanna put it that way. If this was a North Korean airplane, I’d say there would be a far greater level of anxiety, or should be a far greater level of anxiety,” notes Dr. Ryan. “I’d say there’d be a greater degree of anxiety if it were a Chinese airplane because it would be completely unprecedented for those countries to do something like this. But the Russians, like I said, they’ve flown bear flights down the Eastern seaboard back then in the cold war on a regular basis.”

But the Washington Free Beacon reports that the bomber incident was considered highly unusual. Former State Departmnet International Security Undersecretary John Bolton believes the bomber flights were part of an increasingly threatening strategic posture against President Obama’s anti-nuclear policy.

Regardless of the tension between the two countries, Dr. Ryan says Russians are generally friendly people.

“The Russian people if you meet them here on island, I think you’re gonna find them friendly and cordial. I’ve never had anyone treat me badly in Russia. I’ve treated people over there with respect and tried to be cordial toward them and it’s always paid dividends,” Dr. Ryan says.