The 8th Air Force command team visits Whiteman Air Force Base

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christina Carter
  • 509th Bomb Wing

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Melvina Smith, 8th AF command chief, visited Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Aug. 24-25, 2020. 


During the tour, Weatherington and Smith visited Airmen, received hands-on training and spoke with wing leadership about the mission. 


“It was an honor to host Maj. Gen. Weatherington and Chief Smith, as well as showcase our Airmen and mission at Whiteman AFB,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander. “Our Airmen work hard every day to ensure we are always combat capable; this past year has really pushed us to adapt and innovate to maintain our deterrence mission.” 


According to Weatherington, he was impressed with the diverse teams of Airmen working together to complete the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber mission.


The B-2 Spirit, which resides at WAFB, is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions.


“This team provides such a unique capability to the Department of Defense and the Nation,” said Weatherington. “Our combatant commanders value the special capabilities of this team and look to Whiteman to deliver on the most challenging and heavily defended targets in their war plans.”


Weatherington was able to see, during his visit, the Total Force Integration of the 509th and 131st BWs. 


“Each component has its own strengths and weaknesses, but together they complement each other so well,” said Weatherington. “The TFI connection between the 509th and the 131st has helped us hold on to some talented Airmen, who might otherwise been forced to make a difficult choice for themselves and their families. In addition, the relationship with the community and the state, as well as the unique authorities our Guard partners enjoy when it comes to supporting the state during times of crisis, bring added benefit.”


Total Force Integration improves active duty and Guard Airmen’s ability to work together seamlessly. The 509th BW and 131st BW serve as the only B-2 Spirit stealth bomber wings.


“Total Force Integration is key to our success as a base,” said Schreiner. “The relationship we have with the Air National Guard is vital in allowing us to maintain our lethality and readiness. The men and women of the 131st and 509th Bomb Wings should be proud of the teamwork and successful missions they have supported over the years and I am excited to see what else our total force team can accomplish in the future.” 


Weatherington left Team Whiteman with these expectations. 


“It’s the same expectations I have for Airmen across the command,” said Weatherington. “That fundamentally they treat each other with dignity and respect in order to maximize each individual’s contribution. That they strive for excellence in their daily activities and they dedicate themselves to making a difference for themselves, their families, their organization, and the Air Force.  I would also add, especially as we deal with the pandemic, the self-discipline to make smart decisions and to protect themselves, their coworkers, and to preserve our vital combat capability.”