March 17, 2012
Knob Noster, MO Home of WAFB 100th Bomb Wing, 340th, 509th and formerly 351st Missile Wing
SAC Bases: Sedalia / Whiteman Air Force Base
Home of: 100th Bomb Wing, 340th Bomb / Strategic Missile Wing, 351st Strategic Missile Wing,509th Bomb Wing
Status: Home of the 509th Bomb Wing, which flies the B-2 Stealth Bomber
Links: Whiteman AFB - Nice gallery of B-2 photos
Sixty miles 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 and its more than 10,000 military members, Department of Defense civilians and Air Force family members. Today, Whiteman is the home of the 509th Bomb Wing, which operates and maintains the Air Force's premier weapon system, the B-2 bomber.
The challenges and demands of this unit's mission are many and varied. Yet, Whiteman's people meet those challenges and demands daily with great pride and professionalism which have been a proud tradition for many years.
Whiteman's proud heritage dates back to 1942. U.S. Army Air Force officials selected the site of the present-day base to be the home of Sedalia Army Air Field (Sedalia is one of Whiteman's neighboring communities, some 20 miles east of base), and a training base for Waco glider pilots, who saw action in World War II. In fact, the pilots of one former unit assigned to the base -- the 314th 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 end of the war, the airfield remained in service as an operational location for Army Air Force C-46 and C-47 transports. In December 1947, the base was inactivated, but Sedalia Army Air Field was not forgotten.
With the birth of the U.S. Air Force as a separate, independent service in 1947, and the subsequent formation of Strategic Air Command, the site of the former airfield was considered for other Air Force missions. There was even a time in the late '40s that it was looked at as a possible site for the "West Point of the Air," the U.S. Air Force Academy.
In August 1951, SAC selected the base to be a site of one of its new bombardment wings, with both bombers and tankers assigned to the unit. Construction of facilities to support SAC's first all-jet bomber, the B-47, and the KC-97 aerial refueling tanker (the forerunner of SAC's all-jet tankers, the KC-135 and the KC-10) began in early 1952. In October 1952, SAC activated the 340th Bombardment Wing at the redesignated Sedalia AFB.
In October 1955, wing members saw their base's name change to Whiteman AFB, in honor of 2nd Lt. George A. Whiteman, a Sedalia native. Whiteman was one of the first American airmen killed in combat during World War II, when his P-40 fighter, the "Lucky Me," was shot down as he attempted to take off during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
From 1955 to 1960, the 340th BMW played a key role in SAC's mission of strategic deterrence. Its men and women were on the front line of the nation's strategic defense -- a force for peace that helped preserve America's freedom and safeguarded the world from another world war. However, as Whiteman entered the '60s, its mission shifted from aircraft to SAC's newest weapon system, the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile. In June 1961, Air Force officials selected the base to be the location of SAC's fourth Minuteman missile wing-- the 351st Strategic Missile Wing.
The new missile wing was activated in February 1962, and continued its deterrent mission until July 31, 1995, when the wing and its missiles were inactivated under provisions of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Whiteman's current mission -- the B-2 -- is a dramatic leap forward in technology and represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. The B-2 brings massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe through previously impenetrable defenses.
351st Operations Group
The 351st Operations Group is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with the 351st Missile Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. It was inactivated on 31 July 1995.
Activated as the 351st Operations Group on 1 September 1991 under the Objective Wing concept adapted by the Air Force. The ICBM squadrons of the renamed 351st Missile Wing were reassigned to the newly established group, along with the lineage, honors and history of the 351st Bombardment Group.
On 28 September 1991, in response to President Bush's directive to stand down the Minuteman II, personnel of the 351 OG began to dissipate launch codes and pin safety control switches at launch control centers.
On 1 June 1992, the 351 OG was relieved of its emergency war order mission and its primary focus was deactivation of the Minuteman II weapon system. This day also marked the end of SAC and the beginning of Air Combat Command (ACC).
On 1 July 1993 its parent unit, the 351 MW changed hands from ACC to Air Force Space Command along with all other ICBM wings. The 508th, 509th and 510th Missile Squadrons were inactivated along with the 351st Operations Group on 31 July 1995.
Constituted as the 351st Operations Group on 29 August 1991
Activated on 1 September 1991
351st Missile Wing, 1 September 1991 – 31 July 1995
351st Operations Support Squadron, 1 September 1991 – 31 July 1995
508th Missile Squadron, 1 September 1991 – 31 July 1995
509th Missile Squadron, 1 September 1991 – 31 July 1995
510th Missile Squadron, 1 September 1991 – 31 July 1995
Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, 1 September 1991 – 31 July 1995
Aircraft and missiles
LGM-30F Minuteman II, 1991–1995
The group uses the wing emblem with the group name on the scroll. Air Force Instruction 84-105, Organizational Lineage, Honors and Heraldry, 19 March 2013, para 3.3.3