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131st Bomb Wing pilot reaches 1,500-hour milestone

Lt. Col. Jared Kennish, 131st Operations Group commander, Missouri Air National Guard, is presented a 1500-hour patch by Lt. Col. Timothy Rezac, 110th Bomb Squadron commander, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., July 9, 2016.  Kennish joins a small group of B-2 Spirit pilots that have surpassed the 1,000-hour milestone and currently has the most flying hours of any actively flying B-2 pilot.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

Lt. Col. Jared Kennish, 131st Operations Group commander, Missouri Air National Guard, is presented a 1500-hour patch by Lt. Col. Timothy Rezac, 110th Bomb Squadron commander, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., July 9, 2016. Kennish joins a small group of B-2 Spirit pilots that have surpassed the 1,000-hour milestone and currently has the most flying hours of any actively flying B-2 pilot. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

Airmen from the 131st Maintenance Group perform landing checks on the B-2 Spirit of Mississippi prior to Lt. Col. Jared Kennish exiting the aircraft, July 9, 2016 at Whiteman Air Force Base.  During his mission, Kennish crossed the 1,500 flying-hour mark.  He currently has the most hours of any pilot actively flying the B-2.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

Airmen from the 131st Maintenance Group perform landing checks on the B-2 Spirit of Mississippi prior to Lt. Col. Jared Kennish exiting the aircraft, July 9, 2016 at Whiteman Air Force Base. During his mission, Kennish crossed the 1,500 flying-hour mark. He currently has the most hours of any pilot actively flying the B-2. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- A training mission that took place July 9 marked a significant accomplishment in the flying career of a Missouri Air National Guard pilot. 

During the mission, Lt. Col. Jared Kennish, the 131st Operations Group commander, became one of the only B-2 Spirit bomber pilots to ever reach 1500 hours in the stealth aircraft. 

Kennish attributed his accomplishment to the efficiency and professionalism of the maintenance personnel.

"It's a testimony to the efforts and dedication of the men and women who perform exceptional maintenance despite limited time and ever-increasing budget constraints," Kennish said.  "Behind every flight hour logged in this aircraft is a team of maintenance Airmen making it possible."

Making this mission even more noteworthy was the fact that it was comprised of an all-Missouri Air National Guard crew, Kennish said.  He added that this would not have been possible before the total force integration with the active-duty personnel. 

Col. Ken Eaves, the 131st Bomb Wing commander said that Kennish was one of the initial cadre hired from the 509th Bomb Wing to stand up the ANG mission at Whiteman.  He added that Kennish has been an anchor in the Operations Group since he joined the unit, evidenced by the fact that he is now commanding that unit today. 

"This milestone is just another highlight that demonstrates how the Air National Guard brings continuity and experience to the B-2 mission," Eaves said.  "I'm proud of Jared and all the 131st Airmen like him that go about their jobs every day alongside our mission partner to ensure this platform will answer the call when needed."

Kennish joins the ranks of a small group of B-2 pilots to log over 1,000 hours and one of only six that have reached the 1500-hour mark. He currently has the most hours of any pilot actively flying the B-2.

"I'm proud to fly the world's only long-range penetrating bomber, but I'm even more proud of the success of total force integration and I couldn't have accomplished this without the joint efforts of the men and women of the 131st and 509th Bomb Wings," he said.