Missouri State Fair celebrates service during military appreciation day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Parker McCauley
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The Mathewson Exhibition Center hosted a Military Appreciation Day ceremony during the Missouri State Fair on Aug. 11, 2019, at the Army National Guard armory in Sedalia, Missouri.

Military and civilian leaders from across the state gathered for the event, including retired Gen. Frank J. Grass, the 27th chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who served as the key note speaker.

Joe Driskill, the Missouri military advocate and the master of ceremonies, highlighted the active-duty, guard and reserve personnel in the state, and their missions. He also noted the support the communities provide to their military members.

Col. Jeffrey T. Schreiner, the 509th Bomb Wing commander and Missouri native, spoke to the community and thanked them for their support of Team Whiteman.

“The communities that surround Whiteman Air Force Base, like Sedalia, are vital to our success,” Schreiner said. “We cannot execute our mission without you and it is a mission that the nation needs us to be able to execute. You all are important to what we do.”

Schreiner reflected on the last year for the base.

“It’s been a dynamic year for America’s only B-2 base, but as always, we remain focused on strategic deterrence, global strike, and combat support … anytime, anywhere,” he said.

He explained how the two Bomber Task Force missions in the past year in the Indo-Pacific region exemplified the ‘anytime, anywhere’ and the 509th BW’s engine readiness rate being the highest in the operational Air Force.

The BTF missions over the past year had 509th BW Airmen and B-2’s operate out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii to project power and reassure America’s regional allies.

Schreiner also highlighted that Whiteman AFB won the Omaha Trophy for its readiness and lethality from the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska.

“We had a huge year and our Airmen worked incredibly hard; and I’m pleased and proud that their contributions to our national security are being recognized in this way,” Schreiner said.

He went on to compare the Omaha Trophy with the B-2 and explained the significance of the award.

“They’re more than just pieces of hardware, they’re symbols,” said Schreiner. “They’re international symbols that people recognize and understand that this lethality can be brought to the fight. It symbolizes the blood, sweat and tears that our Airmen put into the mission every single day. Our B-2 Airmen are some of the best in the world.”

Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe presented Military Appreciation Day scholarships on behalf of Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, donors and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

The scholarships are for military dependents whose parents serve throughout Missouri, including on Whiteman AFB and Fort Leonard Wood. Active-duty and reserve component dependents had the opportunity to apply for consideration.

Kehoe spoke at the end of the ceremony and gave it a ceremonial end when he ordered the Patriot Guard Riders to start their engines.

According to their website, the Patriot Guard Riders is a 100% Volunteer, Federally registered, non-profit organization which ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and honorably discharged Veterans.