For those familiar with Air Force history, the 509th Bomb Wing conjures up visions of the Enola Gay and Bockscar. While these missions represent the more famous moments in 509th history, they're not the wing's sole claim to fame.

The wing, along with its operational, maintenance, medical and support squadrons has a rich heritage. Today, the 509th is blazing a new trail as the Air Force's only B-2 Spirit Advanced Technology Bomber unit. With each passing year, the 509th continues to make history.

By combining these and other wing, group and squadron accomplishments, the 509th is perhaps the most famous unit in today's United States Air Force.

Whiteman Namesake

Lt. Whiteman - Whiteman Air Force Base's namesake


Second Lt. George A. Whiteman

Lieutenant Whiteman is believed to be one of the first Airmen killed during the assault which marked the United States' entry into World War II. For his gallantry that day, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the American Defense Medal with a Foreign Service clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with one bronze star, and the World War II Victory Medal.  Fourteen years after his death, Gen. Nathan F. Twining, Air Force Chief of Staff, informed his mother, Mrs. Whiteman, on Aug. 24, 1955, that the recently reopened Sedalia Air Force Base would be renamed Whiteman Air Force Base in tribute to her son.

More on Lt. Whiteman here.





Enola Gay


509th Bomb Wing Historian
509 Spirit Blvd, Suite 104A
Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. 65305
Comm: 660-687-1145
DSN prefix: 975



Since 1952, the 509th has proudly displayed its one and only official heraldic device--the wing emblem (or patch).

The shield is like a family coat of arms and uses symbols to tell its story. Each symbol on the shield represents some part of our unique past.

First, the Air Force wings represent the branch of service; but the wings are not in the familiar outstretched position. When the ancient Greeks approached a stranger, they raised their arms with the palms outward to show they were carrying no weapons--a sign of peace. The 509th obtained special permission to display the wings in this configuration to show that it, too, comes in peace.

Wings with an official motto are required to display it in the scroll of their emblem. The 509th's motto, "Defensor Vindex" (Translated: Defender avenger) means that its mission was, and remains, to protect and retaliate for any infringement on that peace.

The atomic cloud burst represents the historic drops of two atomic bombs in wartime, and its current use of atomic power as a deterrent to war and defender of peace.

Finally, the eldest son symbol (the red tripod) shows that the wing is the oldest atomic-trained military unit in the world. Members of the 509th are indeed the inheritors of a proud legacy. Properly wearing and displaying the wing emblem enhances our esprit de corps and unit identity.