Whether past or present, deterrence is still the mission

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
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.