WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Dave Kriete, the U.S. Strategic Command deputy commander, presented the Airmen of the 509th and 131th Bomb Wings with the prestigious Omaha Trophy during a ceremony here Aug. 27.
First awarded in 1971, the Omaha Trophy recognizes units for year-round excellence in strategic deterrence and global strike in support of USSTRATCOM.
Whiteman AFB’s total-force integrated active-duty and Missouri Air National Guard wings together earned the trophy for the second year in a row for executing the best Strategic Bomber Operations throughout 2018.
“In the history of the award, we’ve never awarded the Strategic Bomber Operations trophy to the same unit two years in a row,” Kriete said. “Continued success at this level requires a great team and that is exactly what the 509th and the 131st provide – a team effort that provides our nation with advanced capabilities to deter adversaries all across the globe.”
The award lauded the operations, maintenance, munitions and support teams for continued technological and process improvements of the B-2 Spirit’s stealth platform and inspection excellence while demonstrating flexible, reliable, full-spectrum global strike combat readiness during highly demanding strategic exercises.
“Your efforts to demonstrate capabilities, enhancing partnerships, working with our allies, and ensuring a combat ready force, are truly the foundation of nation’s deterrence,” Kriete said. “We extend our gratitude to you, for keeping our nation safe, for the many sacrifices you and your families make on behalf of the country every day.”
The Omaha Trophy was originally created by the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Consultation Committee as a single trophy and was awarded to the best unit in the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command. Members of the SCC in its current form have continued this 48-year-old partnership.
From the original Omaha Trophy, the award has evolved alongside USSTRATCOM operations and today distinguishes units for outstanding performance in the categories of global operations, intercontinental ballistic missile operations, ballistic missile submarine operations, strategic bomber operations and strategic aircraft operations.
“The recipients of these awards best represent the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians across the entire command of USSTRATCOM – those members who are critical to our nation’s most important mission: strategic deterrence,” Kriete said.
Alongside Kriete, Omaha civic leader Rita Sanders, the former mayor of Bellevue, Nebraska, represented the Strategic Command Consultation Committee–an advisory group comprised of business leaders that represent the people of metropolitan Omaha area.
“We know that winners are naturally competitive and competition leads to excellence,” Sanders said. “And your units have clearly demonstrated that excellence … based on your display of leadership; commitment, and dedication to what we hold so dear: Freedom.”
The dedication to Freedom, Sanders said, is displayed not only by institutions, but by the man and women of two award-winning Whiteman AFB stealth bomber wings.
“This special award sets you apart,” Sanders said. “It is the ‘super-bowl trophy’ in your area of national defense and you should be very proud of this accomplishment.”
Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, commander of the 509th BW, and Col. Ken Eaves, commander of the 131st BW accepted the award on behalf of the command.
“The Omaha Trophy is an amazing opportunity to see this wing shine publicly and highlight what an amazing mission this is,” Schreiner said. “But what it really represents is a million interactions at the Airmen level, out on the line, getting the mission done … It’s a representation of all the things every single one of you accomplish on a daily basis.
“We work hard, but we work hard for reason,” Schreiner continued. “And that is the strategic deterrence and capability we bring to the table each day, without fail and with absolute excellence. People in this country sleep well at night because we have units like the 509th and 131st who can come together and get the mission done consistently … We have shown we’re up to the task and will continue to do that in the future.”