Whiteman’s two bomb squadrons merge, B-2 schoolhouse renamed

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Gallo, the 509th Operations Group commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Geoffrey Steeves, as Steeves assumes command of the 13th Bomb Squadron,  at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., April 13, 2018. The 394th Combat Training Squadron was inactivated and its personnel shifted over to the 13th Bomb Squadron, which will now serve as the formal training unit for the B-2 Spirit.

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Gallo, the 509th Operations Group commander, passes the guidon to Lt. Col. Geoffrey Steeves, as Steeves assumes command of the 13th Bomb Squadron, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., April 13, 2018. The 394th Combat Training Squadron was inactivated and its personnel shifted over to the 13th Bomb Squadron, which will now serve as the formal training unit for the B-2 Spirit.

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Members of the Armed Forces always move forward. From the late 1920s when the U.S. Army first discussed expanding the Army Air Corps, the military has continued with its forward-thinking outlook. The 509th Bomb Wing recently made its own step forward, streamlining its B-2 Spirit bomber operations.

The wing inactivated its 394th Combat Training Squadron Friday, April 13, 2018. It is now the 13th BS, which will continue to serve as the formal training unit for America’s bomber—the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

The 393d Bomb Squadron absorbed those who originally fell under the command of the 13th BS to fortify the lineage of the bomber heritage. The 393d is now the premier operational B-2 squadron.
The official ceremony began at 1:13 p.m. (1313) at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Following the inactivation of the 394th CTS, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Geoffrey Steeves assumed command of the 13th BS.

Although it changed its name, its core capabilities remain the same.
“As the 394th CTS transitions to the 13th BS, our mission will remain unchanged,” said Steeves. “As the Air Force's only B-2 bomber school house, we'll continue train world-class B-2 pilots that will go on to execute our nation's most strategic nuclear and conventional missions.”

With this historic milestone, Airmen had the opportunity to reflect on the past of their former squadron, while embracing new roots. Although an adjustment, the squadron has successfully demonstrated flexibility.

“Overall, the 394th's resiliency has been remarkable,” remarked Steeves. “While our Airmen are saddened to see the inactivation of the Air Force's sixth oldest squadron, we are all very proud to have been part of this distinguished flying unit that served proudly as a World War I training squadron, helped deliver victory in the Pacific Theater during World War II and skillfully trained aviators for 22 years as the first B-2 formal training unit.”

The former 394th Airmen wrote notes that will be sealed, along with other modern-day 394th memorabilia, and stored at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio.

The former 394th CTS commander said the initial news of this change was not upsetting when he learned they’d transition to an even more storied combat unit – the 13th BS Devil's Own Grim Reapers, which just celebrated its 100-year anniversary last summer.

“As the only squadron in our nation's history that has employed nuclear weapons in war, the Tigers hold a special place in history,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Adcock, the 393d BS commander. “Every Tiger hopes to live up to the expectations of those who have gone before us, and we hope to make those who follow in our footsteps proud to be Tigers, as members of the most lethal aviation squadron in history.