Whether past or present, deterrence is still the mission

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- An example of a Minuteman II launch control facility. Launch control facility sites like this one were designed to function even after the initial exchanges of a nuclear war. Self-contained, the underground portion housed batteries, a power generator, telephone switches for the underground cable system, and air regeneration equipment. Redundancies in the system meant that even a damaged LCF would likely have the minimal capability to perform its mission. The facility was manned by 10 people. Two individuals were the crews downstairs. The remaining eight included the facility manager who was usually the ranking enlisted person on site. The next ranking individual was the flight security controller who insured the security of the site and acted as a liaison with the crews downstairs. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- An example of a Minuteman II launch control facility. Launch control facility sites like this one were designed to function even after the initial exchanges of a nuclear war. Self-contained, the underground portion housed batteries, a power generator, telephone switches for the underground cable system, and air regeneration equipment. Redundancies in the system meant that even a damaged LCF would likely have the minimal capability to perform its mission. The facility was manned by 10 people. Two individuals were the crews downstairs. The remaining eight included the facility manager who was usually the ranking enlisted person on site. The next ranking individual was the flight security controller who insured the security of the site and acted as a liaison with the crews downstairs. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Whether it’s the 509th Bomb Wing or the 351st Strategic Missile Wing, supporting a deterrent mission has always been part of the Whiteman mission, vision and values.When custody of Oscar-01 was passed to the 509th Bomb Wing in July 1995, it instilled Whiteman’s unique capabilities in every Airman who set foot on the installation.

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Whether it’s the 509th Bomb Wing or the 351st Strategic Missile Wing, supporting a deterrent mission has always been part of the Whiteman mission, vision and values.When custody of Oscar-01 was passed to the 509th Bomb Wing in July 1995, it instilled Whiteman’s unique capabilities in every Airman who set foot on the installation. (U.S. Air Force Illustration by Heidi Hunt/Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- An example of a bedroom inside a Minuteman II launch control facility in 1982. The facility was manned by 10 people. Two individuals were the crews downstairs. The remaining eight included the facility manager who was usually the ranking enlisted person on site. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- An example of a bedroom inside a Minuteman II launch control facility in 1982. The facility was manned by 10 people. Two individuals were the crews downstairs. The remaining eight included the facility manager who was usually the ranking enlisted person on site. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- An overhead view of temporary housing built near Whiteman for the firm of Morrison, Hardeman, Perrini, and Level, which received the prime contract for construction of hardened, underground launch facilities and 15 launch control centers Jan. 17, 1962. In June 1961, the Department of Defense chose Whiteman to host the fourth Minuteman ICBM wing. The construction project called for the excavation of 867,000 cubic yards of earth and rock. The contractors used 168,000 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 to 100 miles beyond Los Angeles. Construction of the complex was officially completed in June 1964. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- An overhead view of temporary housing built near Whiteman for the firm of Morrison, Hardeman, Perrini, and Level, which received the prime contract for construction of hardened, underground launch facilities and 15 launch control centers Jan. 17, 1962. In June 1961, the Department of Defense chose Whiteman to host the fourth Minuteman ICBM wing. The construction project called for the excavation of 867,000 cubic yards of earth and rock. The contractors used 168,000 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 to 100 miles beyond Los Angeles. Construction of the complex was officially completed in June 1964. (U.S. Air Force photo)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Whether it's the 509th Bomb Wing or the 351st Strategic Missile Wing, supporting a deterrent mission has always been part of the Whiteman mission, vision and values.

When custody of Oscar-01 was passed to the 509th Bomb Wing in July 1995, it instilled Whiteman's unique capabilities in every Airman who set foot on the installation.

Whiteman's MVV have not changed much since the Cold War Era, and it is why today Whiteman carries the same pride in the nuclear heritage and mission.

"Today our strive for perfection hasn't changed," said Tech. Sgt. Steven Bussey, 509th Bomb Wing historian property custodian. "Back in the Cold War with the missileries, it was perfection, and now with the nuclear deterrence, it's still perfection. Every aspect we perform has got to be 100 percent accurate."

Another historical similarity was the actual security and was the number one reason for the missiles, according to Bussey.

"We were ready to defend and retaliate at all times," Bussey said. "Knowing missiles were [here] was a deterrent ... We could go anywhere, anytime.

"It's similar in the aspect that in that time frame we had the missiles as a deterrent, and now in our nuclear deterrence we have the B-2 Spirit," Bussey said. "The only difference was one was more offensive and the one was more defensive."

The 351st Strategic Missile Wing's mission read "We will continue to deter potential aggressors with our hardened and dispersed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, and at the same time afford the remainder of the Air Force time to indulge in their favorite hobby -- Flying."

Today, Whiteman's mission is to develop and provide combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations ... safe, secure and credible ... to support the President of the United States and Combatant Commanders.

While the script reads differently, the idea is the same, and the reason Whiteman exists.

"Whether Airmen were manning the silo or guarding Whiteman's B-2; throughout the years, Whiteman's consistencies are evident," Bussey said.

Although everything from technology to base infrastructure have changed, Whiteman's mission, vision and values have transmitted the mission of assurance and deterrence.

"We are always working to ensure what we are doing is uniform and right, period," Bussey said. "There is very little room for error, anywhere, whether you are flying or guarding, or supporting the mission.

"It doesn't matter which shop you are working out of, everyone counts and should strive to give more than 100 percent," Bussey said. "With each mission that has been brought into Whiteman, we are able to keep going is awesome and is no different from what we were able to do years ago."

Megan Blair, 509th Bomb Wing historian, added that both units share in the heritage of defending America.