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Whiteman AFB commemorates 30-year anniversary of B-2 test flight

A B-2 Spirit, two F-16 Fighting Falcons and an F-18 Hornet sit on the flightline at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for Exercise Valiant Shield on Thursday, June 22. The exercise, which concludes June 23, focuses on integrated joint training in a variety of mission scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

A B-2 Spirit, two F-16 Fighting Falcons and an F-18 Hornet sit on the flightline at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for Exercise Valiant Shield, June 22, 2006. The exercise, which concluded June 23, 2006, focused on integrated joint training in a variety of mission scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

A B-2 Spirit is seen in silhouette from below as it performs a low flyover during the 2019 Wings Over Whiteman Air & Space Show at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, June 15, 2019. The B-2 fleet is operated by the 509th Bomb Wing. During the air show, pyrotechnics simulated notional explosives for spectators on the ground. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

A B-2 Spirit performs a low flyover during the 2019 Wings Over Whiteman Air & Space Show at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 15, 2019. The B-2 fleet is operated by the 509th Bomb Wing. During the air show, pyrotechnics simulated notional explosives for spectators on the ground. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) --

This year, Whiteman Air Force Base commemorates the 30th anniversary of the B-2 Spirit’s inaugural test flight on July 17, 1989, from Palmdale to Edwards AFB, California.

For three decades, B-2 crews have participated in five major military operations and countless training engagements. The bomber has completed missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and, most recently, Libya. The B-2 was also the first aircraft over Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, for which aircraft and crew hold the record for longest combat mission at 44.3 hours. The stealth bomber has been a vital component of America’s national defense and stands as a symbol of the Air Force’s global strike capabilities.

“The combination of range, payload and stealth is really what makes the B-2 unique in all these fights,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander and a command pilot who is now responsible for the combat readiness of the Air Force’s only B-2 base. “Our adversaries don’t know when a conflict is going to heat up or when Whiteman (AFB) is going to be called into the fight.”

B-2 expertise and dedication is shared here at Whiteman AFB following the 2008 total force integration of the 509th BW and the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st BW. This partnership includes training, maintenance and combat operations around the globe and is necessary for the success of this program. 

“At the heart of the stealth enterprise are the men and women in uniform and civilian experts who work tirelessly to provide an asset of unmatched capability,” Schreiner said. “With their expertise and dedication, the B-2 will remain an invaluable asset to our nation for years to come.”

With its unique flying wing design and advancing avionics systems, the B-2 Spirit is more lethal and innovative today than it was 30 years ago. Airmen conduct daily testing and maintenance, long-duration training missions and readiness exercises to keep the B-2 Spirit operational. The stealth bomber is a vital component of America’s national defense and stands as a symbol of the Air Force’s global strike capabilities, 30 years from its inaugural test flight.

For more information about the B-2 Spirit or Whiteman AFB, please visit www.whiteman.af.mil. For specific questions, please contact the 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs at (660) 687-5727 or 509bw.public.affairs@us.af.mil.