WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper visited Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, July 22, 2020, to familiarize himself with Team Whiteman’s mission in maintaining global support and combat readiness.
During his visit, Esper spoke with base leaders and Airmen across the installation.
“It was an honor to highlight Team Whiteman’s unique mission and the Airmen who make it all possible to the Secretary of Defense,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander. “Operating under COVID-19 conditions has not stopped our deterrence mission; we have maintained our readiness to strike anywhere, anytime when called upon.”
Whiteman is home to the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, which is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions.
“This is a very unique capability. There is no other capability like this in the world,” said Esper. “The people in this community and the people of Missouri should be proud.”
Esper noted the integration between the active duty 509th BW and the Air National Guard’s 131st BW, who work together to deliver the B-2 Spirit strategic bomber mission whenever and wherever it is needed.
“What particularly impressed me was the close relationship between the guard and active duty,” said Esper. “I’ve never seen integration like this. It’s a hand in glove relationship—seamless—and I’m very impressed with what I saw.”
Schreiner also touted the units in the partnership as the only two wings to perform the B-2 mission.
“Working side by side with our Air National Guard partners has been key to our success in facing today’s challenges,” said Schreiner. “Having the ability to seamlessly integrate our active duty and Guard Airmen allows us to meet the demands of constantly evolving technology and force readiness the mission requires.”
Esper thanked all the military members and Department of Defense civilians on WAFB for what they do and admired the support of the local community.
“I have heard nothing but good stories of how supportive the local community is,” said Esper. “It’s a testament to the close bond between the American people and our military.”