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March 12, 2015

January 5, 1987 Congressman Ike Skelton Announces B-2 Bombers Will Be Based at Whiteman Air Force Base Missouri

Whiteman Air Force Base

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Whiteman Air Force Base
Air Force Global Strike Command.svg

Part of Air Force Global Strike Command(AFGSC)

Located near: Knob Noster, Missouri
Warrensburg, Missouri

509th Bomb Wing B-2 Spirit over St. Louis
Site information  Controlled by
United States Air Force
Site history
In use
1963 – present
Garrison information
509th Bomb Wing
Airfield information
Elevation AMSL
870 ft / 265 m

38°43′49″N 093°32′55″WCoordinates: 38°43′49″N 093°32′55″W

Location of Whiteman Air Force Base
Surface ft m  1/19  12,400   3,780
9/27 (Closed)
13/31 (Closed)

2d Lieutenant George A. Whiteman (1919–1941)

B-2 Over Whiteman

A-10s of the 442d Fighter Wing

T-38C of the 509th Bomb Wing

Main Gate, now known as "Spirit Gate"

Memorial Park

Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II, AF Ser. No. 76-0530 on static display

Boeing B-29A-40-BN Superfortress, AAF Ser. No. 44-61671 on static display by the Spirit Gate.

Spirit Gate during winter
Whiteman Air Force Base (AFB) (IATASZLICAOKSZLFAA LIDSZL) is aUnited States Air Force base located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Knob Noster, Missouri; 70 miles (110 km) east-southeast of Kansas City, Missouri.
The host unit at Whiteman AFB is the 509th Bomb Wing (509 BW), assigned to theEighth Air Force of the Air Force Global Strike Command . The 509 BW operates the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, designed to be employed to strike high-value targetsthat are either out of range of conventional aircraft or considered to be too heavily defended for conventional aircraft to strike without a high risk of loss.
Whiteman AFB was established in 1942 as Sedalia Glider Base.
1 Overview
2 Units
3 History
3.1 World War II
3.2 Cold War
3.3 Minuteman missiles (1961–1995)
3.4 B-2 bombers
3.5 Modern era
3.6 Previous names
3.7 Major commands to which assigned
3.8 Major units assigned
4 Geography
5 Demographics
6 Whiteman in pop culture
7 See also
8 References
9 Other sources
10 External links
Whiteman AFB is a joint-service base, with Air Force, Army and Navy units. Its host unit is the U.S. Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing (509 BW). Tenant units include the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing (131 BW), the Air Force Reserve Command's 442nd Fighter Wing (442 FW), the Missouri Army National Guard's 1/135th Aviation Battalion and the U.S. Navy Reserve's Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 114.
Whiteman AFB is the only permanent base for the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. Whiteman can launch combat sorties directly from Missouri to any part of the globe, engaging adversaries with nuclear or conventional weapon payloads. The 509th Bomb Wing first flew the B-2 in combat against Serbia in March 1999. Later, Whiteman B-2s led the way for America's military response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. in September 2001. B-2 bombers were the first U.S. aircraft to enter Afghanistan airspace in October 2001, paving the way for other coalition aircraft to engage Taliban and Al Queda forces. During these operations, the aircraft flew round-trip from Missouri, logging combat missions in excess of 40 hours – the longest on record.
Other aircraft assigned to Whiteman include the A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack fighter; the T-38 Talon jet trainer, and the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.


The 509th Bomb Wing consists of the following groups:
  • 509th Operations Group (Tail Code: WM – carried on main landing doors of tailless B-2) B-2 Spirit; T-38 Talon
13th Bomb Squadron
393d Bomb Squadron
  • 509th Maintenance Group
  • 509th Mission Support Group
  • 509th Medical Group
The 509th Force Support Squadron is a part of the * 509th Mission Support Group at Whiteman AFB Missouri.
The 131st Bomb Wing is a unit of the Missouri Air National Guard. It is located at Whiteman AFB as an associate unit of the 509th Bomb Wing.
  • 131st Operations Group
110th Bomb Squadron (Tail Code: WM) B-2 Spirit
  • 131st Maintenance Group
  • 131st Mission Support Group
  • 131st Medical Group
The Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing and the active-duty 509th Bomb Wing have a unique relationship at Whiteman AFB, in that members of the two units work side-by-side on a daily basis, although the majority of the 131st Bomb Wing visits Whiteman only one weekend per month for drill. In August 2013, the 131st Bomb Wing became the only Air National Guard bomb wing to be certified to conduct nuclear operations.[1]
  • 442nd Operations Group (Tail Code: KC) A-10 Thunderbolt II
303rd Fighter Squadron
  • 442nd Maintenance Group
  • 442nd Mission Support Group
In addition, the wing boasts the 442nd Medical Squadron, as well as a wing staff. There are also two geographically separated units that report to the 442nd Fighter Wing. The 710th Medical Squadron and 610th Intelligence Operations Flight, both located at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, look to the 442nd FW for support in accomplishing their missions.
The 476th Fighter Group, stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, is an Air Force Reserve Command unit linked to the 23rd Fighter Group at Moody. The 442 FW oversees the 476th FG's administrative and mission-support needs not provided by Moody's host, active-duty wing. It consists of the following squadrons:
  • 76th Fighter Squadron (Tail Code: FT) A-10 Thunderbolt II
  • 476th Maintenance Squadron
  • 476th Medical Flight
Missouri Army National Guard 1st Battalion 135th Attack Reconnaissance Brigade, AH-64 Apache
The Navy Reserve's Maritime Expeditionary Security Division 11, which provides light, mobile, short-duration, point defense Anti-Terrorism Force Protection forces for USN ships and aircraft and other high value assets in locations where U.S. or host-nation security infrastructure is either inadequate or non-existent.


Named in honor of 2d Lieutenant George Allison Whiteman (1919–1941). On 7 December 1941 Lieutenant Whiteman attempted to take off from Bellows Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Hit by enemy fire, his P-40 Warhawk crashed and Lieutenant Whiteman became the first member of the United States armed forces to die in aerial combat in World War II.

World War II[edit]

The base had its beginnings in 1942 when U.S. Army Air Corps officials selected the site of the present-day base to be the home of Sedalia Army Air Field and a training base for WACO glider pilots.
In May 1942, construction workers descended upon an area known to locals as the "Blue Flats" because of the color of the soil and began building a railroad spur for the new air base. The new railroad line, laid by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, was only the beginning. The runways, the main impetus for the base, required 27,800 square yards of concrete. The entire runway was poured in 18 hours during a driving Midwestern rainstorm. The base reached a major milestone on 6 August 1942 when the Army declared the field officially open.
In November 1942, the installation became Sedalia Army Air Field and was assigned to the I Troop Carrier Command of the Army Air Force. The field served as a training site for glider tactics and paratroopers. It was one of the eight bases in the United States dedicated to training glider pilots for combat missions performed by the Troop Carrier Command. Pilots flew C-46 or C-47 transports and several types of cargo and personnel gliders, usually theWaco CG-4A. The forest green, fabric-covered gliders could carry 15 fully equipped men or a quarter-ton truck plus a smaller crew. They were towed in either single or double tow behind the transport aircraft and could land on fields not equipped for larger aircraft.
In the opening months of 1945 Sedalia AAFld began converting from C-47s to C-46s. By July and August 1945, the base had assumed the function of providing central instructor training for all combat crew training bases throughout the I Troop Carrier Command. This program provided skills and teaching methods in all aspects of troop carrier flying.
During the massive demobilization in the mid-1940s, the base closed and most of the buildings were abandoned.

Cold War[edit]

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 Stratofreighter aerial refueling aircraft assigned to the unit. Construction of facilities was conducted by the 4224th Air Base Squadron until 20 October 1952, when the base was turned over to the 340th Bombardment Wing. The first B-47 arrived on 25 March 1954 and the first KC-97 arrived six months later.
On 3 Dec 1955, Sedalia AFB became Whiteman AFB in honor of 2nd Lt George A. Whiteman. A native of Sedalia, Whiteman was one of the first American airmen killed in World War II when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 Dec 1941. During the attack of Bellows Air Field, Oahu, Lieutenant Whiteman managed to reach his fighter aircraft. While attempting to take off, enemy fighters attacked his plane and Whiteman's P-40 crashed, fatally injuring the mid-Missouri native. By the time rescue teams reached the aircraft, Whiteman had died.
Construction on Whiteman continued throughout the 1950s. During this period, the Air Force built military family housing units as well as a base pool and gymnasium. However, a project on a much grander scale soon overshadowed this flurry of construction.

Minuteman missiles (1961–1995)[edit]

In June 1961, the Department of Defense chose Whiteman to host the fourth Minuteman ICBM wing. On 17 Jan 1962, the joint venture team of Morrison-Knudsen, Paul Hardeman, Inc., Perini Corporation, and C.H. Leavell & Co. received the prime contract for construction of hardened, underground launch facilities and 15 launch control centers. The project called for the excavation of over 2,000,000 cubic yards of earth and rock.[2]
The contractors used 168,000 cubic yards of concrete, 25,355 tons of reinforcing steel and 15,120 tons of structural steel. In addition, the project called for the installation of a vast underground intersite cable network. If laid end to end in a straight line, this cable would stretch from Whiteman AFB to 100 miles (160 km) beyond Los Angeles. Construction of the complex was officially completed in June 1964 at a cost of $60,665,000. The missile silos were built with a minimum separation of three miles between each one, so that the resulting silo field occupied around 10,000 square miles.[3]
Before completion of the construction, SAC activated the 351st Strategic Missile Wing at Whiteman on 1 Feb 1963. The 340th Bombardment Wing gradually phased out operations during the same year with its aircraft and remnants transferring to Bergstrom AFB, Texas, on 1 Sep 1963.
After the change in 1963 from a bomber base to an ICBM site, life on Whiteman remained relatively stable throughout the 1960s and 1970s although there were programs to continually update and improve the base's weapons systems. Whiteman deployed 150 Minuteman I missiles controlled from the 15 underground launch centres. In 1966 a major program was initiated to replace the Minuteman I missiles with Minuteman II.[3]
Several new buildings emerged from time to time as the base matured. However, with the beginning of the 1980s, a new construction phase started. New missile operations, maintenance and security police facilities as well as several enlisted dormitories marked the start of a new era. Meanwhile, the base continued to lead the way. In the late 1980s, the 351st fielded the first female Minuteman missile crew, the first mixed sex Minuteman crew, and the first squadron commander to pull alert in the Minuteman system.
Under the provisions of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the Minuteman II system was decommissioned. The first launch control centre was shut down on 8 January 1993 and the final warhead removed from the site on May 7, 1993. The treaty mandated the demolition of all of the silos, and this was carried out starting in December 1993 when the first silo was imploded. The final missile was removed from the site on May 18, 1995.[3] One of the launch control centres, Oscar-1, still exists and is maintained as a museum.[3]

B-2 bombers

On 1 July 1990, the 100th Air Division activated at Whiteman and assumed host responsibilities for the base. Accordingly, the 351st Combat Support Group and the 351st Security Police Group, along with their assigned units and the squadrons under the deputy commander for resource management, inactivated at Whiteman. Concurrently, the Air Force activated equivalent squadrons bearing the 800th designator to replace the inactivated 351st units.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.— Ike Skelton, a former 17-term U.S. Representative from central and southern Missouri, passed away Monday evening at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., at the age of 81.
Skelton was a longtime staple of Missouri politics, elected to the Missouri Senate during 1970 where he oversaw the state’s overhaul of the criminal code, he won his congressional seat in 1976 after an endorsement from Bess Truman, the widow of former U.S. President Harry Truman.

Former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton
December 20,1931 — October 28, 2013
Skelton was the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, one of the most powerful committee’s in Washington. He was recognized across Washington as an expert on military affairs and national security. His position on armed services proved invaluable. At one time, both Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood were in Skelton’s district. Skelton is largely credited with making Whiteman the “home” of the B-2 bomber, while Fort Leonard Wood is known as a prominent training base for multiple branches of the military.
Skelton was a moderate and even conservative Democrat. He was pro-life, anti-gun control and a vocal supporter of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policy. Though he originally voted to invade Iraq, Skelton became an increasingly outspoken critic of the war and the Bush Administration as the conflict waned on.
He also stood with many of his fellow Democrats in opposing the 1981 tax cuts offered by President Ronald Reagan as well as the Bush tax cuts. Skelton’s district trended more Republican during his final terms, with Republican presidential candidates regularly winning most of the counties in his district, often by wide margins. But Skelton rarely had serious challenges.
While many assumed his retirement would give Republicans the seat, Skelton was instead upset by Rep. Vicki Hartzler, who beat Skelton in the wave of conservative GOP candidates that helped wrest the majority from Democrats in the House of Representatives in 2010. Hartzler’s victory over a congressman with more than 30 years in Washington made national news during a year that was particularly rough for Democratic politicians.
“I am deeply saddened at the passing of my predecessor and respected friend, Ike Skelton,” Hartzler said in a release. “I have appreciated our conversations over the past two and a half years and the commitment we shared to see Missouri’s 4th District prosper. I am thankful for Ike’s tireless efforts on behalf of our men and women in uniform and know our country is safer as a result of his unwavering leadership. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
After his defeat, Skelton joined the massive Kansas City-based Husch Blackwell law firm and was named by President Obama to the World War I Centennial Commission. His autobiography, “Achieve the Honorable,” was released only a few weeks ago.
Skelton was re-married in 2009 after his first wife of 44 years, Susan, died. Skelton is survived by his second wife, Patty, and his three sons: Ike Skelton V, James Anding Skelton and Harry Page Skelton.
“Ike Skelton was a man of absolute integrity,” long-time Missouri lobbyist John Britton said. “He did what he thought was right and what was proper. And he was also able to maintain a sense of humor. If you’re going to do a profile of a classic legislator and leader, Ike is a good place to start.”
Additional remarks were offered via releases from Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, Congressman Lacy Clay and Attorney General Chris Koster.

Modern era

Several months after the air division's activation, on 30 Sep 1990, the 509th Bomb Wing moved its headquarters to Whiteman albeit in an unmanned and non-operational state.
However, the 100th AD's tenure at Whiteman did not last long as SAC inactivated the unit on 26 July 1991. Similarly, Whiteman's host unit responsibilities reverted to the 351st.
During the next two years, Whiteman's building infrastructure continued to grow as the arrival date of the first B-2 drew nearer. Meanwhile, another change developed in the Air Force.
With the end of the Cold War, the Air Force disestablished Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command and Military Air Command on 1 June 1992. In their place arose two new organizations, one of which was Air Combat Command, the 509th's newer, higher headquarters.
On 1 April 1993, the 509th returned to operational status when people from Detachment 509, the base's B-2 overseers for the past two years, were formally assigned to the wing. Then, on 1 July 1993, the 509th accepted the host responsibilities for Whiteman from the 351st and a new era dawned for the base. Several days later, on 20 July 1993, flying operations returned to the base after a 30-year hiatus when the first permanently assigned T-38 landed at Whiteman.
Then, on 17 Dec 1993, the event that Whiteman had long awaited finally arrived. On that day, at approximately 2 pm, a dark jet bomber swooped from the sky and landed on the Whiteman runway. Amid much fanfare, the first operational B-2, The Spirit of Missouri, had arrived. Less than a week later, on 22 Dec 1993, Whiteman again made history as it generated the first B-2 sortie from the base.
On 12 June 1994, the base welcomed the 442nd Fighter Wing (442 FW). The 442nd, an Air Force Reserve Command unit operating the A-10 Thunderbolt II was previously assigned to Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri, transferring to Whiteman after the closure of Richards-Gebaur.
Yet, the 442nd was not really a newcomer to the base. On 1 Sep 1943, the then-called 442nd Troop Carrier Group activated at Sedalia Army Air Field. It subsequently remained at the base until December 1943.
In 1995 the base also lost one of its long-time resident units. On 31 July 1995, the 351st Missile Wing officially inactivated, ending its 33-year association with Whiteman AFB.
On October 4, 2008, the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing officially moved from its base at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to Whiteman Air Force Base to create a classic association with the active-duty 509th Bomb Wing.
On 1 Feb 2010, the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base became part of the newly created Air Force Global Strike Command. In February 2010, the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron, a ground control station for unmanned aerial drones, began operation at the base.

Previous names[

Established as: Sedalia Glider Base, 1 March 1942
  • Army Air Forces Station at Sedalia, MO, c. 1 May 1942
  • Sedalia Army Air Base, 8 August 1942
  • Army Air Base, Warrensburg, MO, 23 September 1942
  • Sedalia Army Airfield, 27 October 1942
  • Army Air Base, Knob Noster, MO, 31 October 1942
  • Sedalia Air Force Auxiliary Field, 24 June 1948
  • Sedalia Air Force Base, 1 August 1951
  • Whiteman Air Force Base, 1 October 1955

Major commands to which assigned[edit]

Air Materiel Command, 14 December 1947 (during inactive status)

Major units assigned[edit]


Whiteman AFB is located at 38°43′58″N 93°33′17″W (38.732758, −93.554851).[5]
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.4 km² (5.2 mi²), all land. Part of the base is acensus-designated place (CDP); it had a population of 3,814 at the 2000 census.
Nearby towns include Knob Noster and Warrensburg. The nearest major city is Kansas City, Missouri.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 3,814 people, 931 households, and 901 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 284.8/km² (737.7/mi²). There were 982 housing units at an average density of 73.3/km² (189.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 81.8% White, 9.7% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 2.2% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.7% of the population.
There were 931 households out of which 79.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 90.1% were married couples living together, 4.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 3.2% were non-families. 2.7% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.53 and the average family size was 3.56.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 37.6% under the age of 18, 25.7% from 18 to 24, 35.5% from 25 to 44, 1.2% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females there were 125.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 130.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $33,664, and the median income for a family was $32,586. Males had a median income of $22,095 versus $16,466 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,538. About 5.6% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Whiteman in pop culture

Whiteman was one of the settings for the television movie The Day After. In the Dale Brown novel Plan of Attack, the base is destroyed by two Russian nuclear-tipped AS-17 Krypton cruise missiles. In the aftermath, only two B-2 stealth bombers survive.
Other sources
in the House of Representatives
  • Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, on December 22, 1994 an article appeared in the Windsor Review, a newspaper in the Fourth Congressional District of the State of Missouri. The article, entitled `B-2 Has Phenomenal First Year At Whiteman Air Force Base,' examines the first year accomplishments of the B-2 stealth bomber. I enter the article into the Congressional Record:
The 509th Bomb Wing has flown 114 of 120 planned sorties, with an astounding reliability rate of 95 percent, since the Air Force's first B-2 stealth bomber winged its way from its birthplace in Palmdale, California, to its new home near Dec. 17 last year. That equals more than 380 flying hours for all four aircraft.
The 509th got off to a phenomenal start by flying the `Spirit of Missouri' on its first training mission just five days short of its arrival at Whiteman.
Since that time, the `Spirit of Missouri' has been joined by the `Spirit of California', `Spirit of Texas', and `Spirit of Washington' as the 509th progresses toward becoming the first fully operational B-2 wing in the Air Force.
The wing initially trained two instructor pilots at Whiteman, and four more instructor pilots in the first class have recently completed their checkrides. The second and third class have begun training. By the end of 1994, the 509th will be able to point with pride to eight instructor pilots who have completed basic qualification.
`I'm extremely pleased with the Whiteman team and excited about the future of the B-2' said Brigadier General Ronald C. Marcotte, 509th Bomb Wing Commander. `Our goal is to make the B-2 and Whiteman AFB the crown jewel of national defense. I think we're well on our way.
In September, the 509th completed its first operation delivery of munitions at the Air Force's Utah Teat and Training Range. The `Spirit of California' delivered two inert Mark-84 2,000-pound bombs against targets located at Barker Strong Point on the Utah range.
`We were on target and on time' said Colonel William M. Fraser III, 509th Operations Group commander. `It was the culmination of many months of training for the entire 509th team. We exercised our mission planning program as well as our weapons load and aircraft preparation.'
Six weapons load crews have been trained and certified in the past year.
While the `Spirit of California' demonstrated the B-2's munitions delivery capability, the `Spirit of Missouri' began its first phase inspection. A phase inspection is a scheduled inspection that looks at the entire airplane for any signs of damage, usually in the form of corrosion, cracks, or unexpected wear and tear. The B-2 has more than 1,200 items that must be inspected. The whole process takes about 44 working days.
`Our plan is to use this phase as a benchmark for future phases,' said Colonel Henry L. Taylor, 509th Logistics Group commander. `We want to improve the process so we can reduce the time needed for phase inspections and return the planes to the 393d Bomb Squadron as quickly as we can safely do it.'
As Whiteman team members work to make the B-2 the cornerstone of national defense, they are also deactivating 113 Minuteman II missiles in accordance with the START treaty, and welcomed the 442nd Reserve Wing and its fleet of 22 A-10's from Richards-Gebaur AFB, Mo. The conversions required $120 million in construction projects.
`Without the support of our community partners and taxpayers, especially those who live and work around Whiteman we could not have achieved the accomplishments of the past year,' Marcotte said. `We've worked, not only at building solid relationships with our civilian friends and neighbors. Everyone has been tremendously supportive and we're off to a great start.'
The future of the B-2 and Whiteman looks bright. `The B-2 is the cornerstone of America's global power of tomorrow. It's a critical component that will enable us to meet the enormous challenges to world peace in the 21st century,' Marcotte said. `And as our 509th motto says: Follow Us.'