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May 29, 2011

Learn About Whiteman AIr Force Base and the B2 Bomber - Video Link & More

Whiteman AFB, Mo. 65305-5000; 2 mi. S of Knob Noster. Phone: 660-687-1110; DSN 975-1110. Majcom: AFGSC. Host: 509th BW. Mission: B-2 operations. Major tenants: 442nd FW (AFRC), A-10; 498th Munitions Maintenance Gp. (AFNWC); 131st BW (ANG); 1st Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (ARNG); Maritime Expeditionary Security Division 13 (USNR). History: activated 1942. Named for 2nd Lt. George A. Whiteman, first pilot to die in aerial combat during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Area: 4,993 acres. Runway: 12,400 ft. Altitude: 871 ft. Personnel: permanent party military, 5,246; DOD civilians, 2,492. Housing: single family, officer, 77, enlisted, 696; unaccompanied, 686; visiting, VOQ, 52, VAQ/VEQ, 35, TLF, 31. Clinic.

Guide to Air Force Installations Worldwide 2010 USAF Almanac

Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, has often been called the Air Force installation of the future. Time and time again in its history, Whiteman has always played an integral role in the Air Force. The 509th Bomb Wing's slogan, 'Proud of Our Past, Poised for the Future-Follow Us,' is also true for Whiteman. From the quiet soaring of the World War II era gliders to the thundering roar of the B-47s and KC-97s to the silent vigil of the Minuteman II, Whiteman has played host to a succession of America's most important weapons systems. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our predecessors - the former residents of Whiteman. They not only made many sacrifices but they left us a proud and uncommon heritage. I think it is particularly appropriate that we remember this legacy and let it be a guiding light as the epoch of the B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber dawns over Whiteman--RONALD C. MARCOTTE, Brig Gen, USAF 509th Bomb Wing Commander
Military Partners
Sixty miles to the southeast of Kansas City, nestled among the wooded, rolling hills of west-central Missouri, and two miles south of Knob Noster, is the bustling community of Whiteman Air Force Base. Today Whiteman is the home of the 509th Bomb Wing, which operates and maintains the Air Force’s premier weapon’s system, the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

Sedalia Army Air Field
Whiteman’s proud heritage dates back to 1942 when U.S. Army Air Corp officials selected the site of the present-day base to be the home of Sedalia Army Air Field (Sedalia is a neighboring community, some 20 miles east of the base) and a training base for WACO glider pilots, who saw action in World War II. The pilots of one former unit assigned to the base, the 314 Troop Carrier Group, participated in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, and the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Following the war, the airfield remained in service as an operational location for Army Air Corp C-46 and C-47 transports. In December 1947, the base was inactivated but with the birth of the U.S. Air Force as a separate, independent service, and the subsequent formation of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), the site of the former airfield was considered for other missions. For example, in the late 1940s it was considered as a possible site for the “West Point of Air,” the U.S. Air Force Academy.

On August 24, 1955 General Nathan F. Twining, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, informed Mrs. Earlie Whiteman of Sedalia that the recently reopened Sedalia Air Force Base would be renamed Whiteman Air Force Base in tribute to her son, 2nd Lt. George A. Whiteman who was one of the first airmen killed during the assault on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The dedication and renaming ceremony took place on December 3, 1955.

340 Bombardment Wing
In August 1951, SAC selected Sedalia AFB to be one of its new bombardment wings, with the first all-jet bomber, the B-47 Stratojet, and the KC-97 aerial refueling tanker assigned to the unit. Construction of facilities was conducted by the 4224th Air Base Squadron until October 20, 1952, when the base was turned over to the 340th Bombardment Wing. Activated with the wing were the 486th, 487th and 488th Bombardment Squadrons and the 340th Air Refueling Squadron. The first B-47 arrived on March 25, 1954 and by the end of the following month the wing had 18 bombers assigned. On October 12, 1954, the first KC-97 arrived.

The early 1960s ushered in a period of change for Whiteman and the 340th when the Department of Defense (DOD) declared the B-47s and KC-97s obsolete and ready for retirement. The 340th BMW gradually phased out operations at Whiteman and its remnants were transferred to Bergstrom AFB, Texas, on September 1, 1963.

351 Strategic Missile Wing
The story of the 351 Strategic Missile Wing (SMW) at Whiteman began in April 1961 when test borings made in the area around the base determined the geological make-up would support a land-based ICBM system. Three months later the DOD announced plans to base Wing IV of the Minuteman I ICMB system at Whiteman. Groundbreaking ceremonies with a host of dignitaries in attendance were held in April 1962 at the site now called Oscar-01.

The 351st SMW, a direct descendant of the historic World War II unit, the 351st Bombardment Group, was activated on February 1, 1963 to oversee construction and act as the base operating unit. Other squadrons assigned at this time were the 508th, 509th, and 510 Strategic Missile Squadrons. On June 29, 1964, the 351st went on full operational alert.

Amazingly, the construction and equipping of the 150 missile sites and 15 launch control centers took only two years, two months, and two weeks to complete. During the period May 1965 to October 1967 the Minuteman I was upgraded to the Minuteman II. Other modernization programs in the following decades improved the system and increased the survivability of the missile. In the mid-1980s the Minuteman Integrated Life Extension (Rivet MILE) program improved the safety, maintainability and reliability of the missile facilities.

In January 1987, Congressman Ike Skelton announced the B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber would be based at Whiteman. In preparation for a second wing, the Air Force activated the 100th Division in July 1990 to replace the 351st as the base host unit. Because the Air Force was preparing to eliminate its air divisions, however, this arrangement did not last long. Thus, in July 1991, the 100th was inactivated and the 351st once again assumed its host unit role. The changes did not end there. On July 31, 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Premier Mikhail Gorbachev signed the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which called for dismantling and destruction of the Minuteman II ICBMs.

The end of the Cold War spelled the end of the 351st and deactivation of the Minuteman II system began immediately. On January 8, 1993, the wing’s first launch control center, India-01, shut down operations. Five months later, on May 7, 1993, the last reentry vehicle was removed from Golf-02 (Deepwater, St. Clair County). Later that year, on December 8, the wing imploded its first silo, India-02 (Leeton, Johnson County), and on May 18, 1995, the last Minuteman II missile, located at Juliet-03 (Chloe, Johnson County), was removed from its site.

509 Bomb Wing
The 509th Bomb Wing traces its histori­cal roots to its World War II ancestor, the 509th Composite Group which was formed with one mission in mind: to drop the atomic bomb. The Group made history on August 6, 1945, when the B-29 “Enola Gay,” piloted by Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. On August 9, 1945, the Group again visited the Japanese mainland and unleashed the atomic inferno upon Nagasaki. Within days, the Japanese sued for peace, ending the war.

In late 1945, the Group settled into Roswell Army Air Base, New Mexico, where it became the core of the newly formed SAC. Twelve years later the 509th moved its personnel and equipment to Pease AFB, New Hampshire. By 1965, the B-47s and the 509th BW were slated for retirement. SAC, however, decided to keep the bomb wing alive and equip it with B-52s and KC-135s.

On September 30, 1990, the 509th BW was transferred to Whiteman AFB and in July 1993, accepted host responsibilities for the base. During this same month the wing received its first fixed-wing aircraft, a T-38 complete with a B-2 style paint job.

On December 17, 1993, the 90th anniversary of Orville Wright’s historic first successful, controlled, heavier-than-air powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the world’s most sophisticated and advanced aircraft, the B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber, the Spirit of Missouri, arrived at Whiteman Air Force Base.

B-2 Stealth Bomber
The B-2, which has two crew members, a pilot in the left seat and mission commander in the right, is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the US bomber modernization program. It brings massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe through previously impenetrable defenses. By possessing extreme unrifled range and the ability to penetrate deep into enemy airspace undetected and unassisted, the B-2 can place at risk any fixed or movable target and expose the aircraft crew to limited hostilities while providing them with the necessary tools to complete their mission and return safely home. Once deployed, the B-2 renders enemy air defenses ineffective and serves as a deterrent to hostilities and a preserver of peace.

The B-2’s low-observability is derived from a combination of reduced infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures. These signatures make it difficult for the sophisticated defense systems to detect, track and engage the B-2. Many aspects of the low-observability remain classified; however, the B-2’s composite materials, special coatings and flying-wing design all contribute to its “stealthiness.”

The success of the B-2 was proven in Operation Allied Force in 1999, where it was responsible for destroying 33 percent of all Serbian targets in the first eight weeks, by flying nonstop to Kosovo from its home base in Missouri and back. The aircraft was also called into combat service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

In 2008, Whiteman AFB welcomed the Missouri Air National Guard into its midst as an associate B-2 unit. In this capacity, Missouri’s citizen-airmen will work alongside active duty personnel to maintain and fly the nation’s most advanced bomber.

For more information, visit the Whiteman AFB site at

Missouri Ranks 7th in the number of nuclear weapons deployed.

MISSOURI ranks 7th (tie) in number of nuclear weapons deployed, a rise from 21st since 1992. Whiteman AFB, west of Jefferson City is home to the new B-2 “Spirit” bombers of the 509th Bomb Wing of the Air Force Air Combat Command. The 150 Minuteman II ICBMs previously deployed around Whiteman have been retired. Nuclear weapons stored at Whiteman AFB include 200 B61-7 bombs, 50 new B61-11 “earth penetrator” bombs, and 300 high yield

B83 bombs. As the primary nuclear penetrating bomber, the B-2 does not carry any air-launched cruise missiles. The 509th Wing returned to operational status on 1 April 1993, the initial cadre coming from Detachment 509, 351st Missile Wing, which was inactivated. On December 17, 1993, the wing’s first B-2 arrived at Whiteman. It was dubbed the Spirit of Missouri. During 1994, four additional bombers arrived at Whiteman (17 and 31 August, 29 October, 30 December), and the first bomber was extensively tested to practice nuclear bomb loading. The 509th (and the subordinate 509th Security Police Squadron) was awarded excellent and outstanding ratings in the 1994 NSI and the Wing received a USAF Nuclear Surety Plaque “for demonstrating outstanding capability to support a nuclear airlift mission.”

Three more planes were added in 1995 (17 February, 28 June, and 14 November) and the first B-2 returned to Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, CA assembly plant to undergo upgrading to Block 30 status. In 1996, the ninth through 13th bombers arrived (11 and 24 January, 16 May, 3 July, and 17 December). On January 1, 1996, the Air Force announced that the B-2 fleet was operational for use in a conventional bombing role. From June 10-17, 1996, a Quality Air Force Assessment (QAFA) was conducted at Whiteman. Preparations for permanent nuclear certification of the B-2 Wing at Whiteman began in August 1993 with an Air Combat Command Nuclear Staff Assistance Visit (NSAV). These were continued in March 1995, September 1995, January 1996, and September 1996. Between January 21-27, 1997, the first wing Nuclear Surety Inspection was held. After nuclear certification, on 19 February, the wing conducted its first nuclear war “generation” exercise to practice rapid take-off of aircraft in response to an alert order. The B-2s were added to the nuclear war plans.
 CG-4A glider sitting on a runway, possibly at Sedalia Army Air Field, Missouri, United States, May 1942-Jun 1943

Caption   CG-4A glider sitting on a runway, possibly at Sedalia Army Air Field, Missouri,
United States, May 1942-Jun 1943

Aerial View Whiteman AFB, modern day

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