Air National Guard director visits Missouri’s 131st Bomb Wing

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. John Hillier
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Team Whiteman received a visit from the Air National Guard’s top leader and his spouse May 12-14, 2022.

Lt. Gen. Michael Loh and Mrs. Dianne Loh, visited the base to get a first-hand understanding of how 131st and 509th Bomb Wing Airmen perform the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber mission, and the unique challenges it presents.

“The 131st Bomb Wing is one of the premier Total Force Integration organizations that we have, and it’s unique as it’s the only one in the B-2 mission,” said Loh. “There’s no difference between Guard and active-duty Airmen in this organization from the command level all the way to the flight line.”

Loh shares a personal connection with the B-2 mission, as his father was one of the original B-2 pilots at Whiteman. The senior Loh carries Spirit Number 31, meaning he was the 31st person to fly in a B-2, and delivered the first aircraft, the “Spirit of Missouri,” to Whiteman from the manufacturer in 1993. Now after a flight of his own, Lt. Gen. Loh will carry Spirit Number 790.

“When my dad landed here, he got a bunch of fanfare,” said Lt. Gen. Loh about his flight. “My fanfare was the four Airmen who crewed the airplane – but that was perfect. It gives you goosebumps when that bomber rolls out of the hangar, and as soon as I get back I’m going to go call my dad and talk all about it with him.”

The visit comes after an especially busy 2021, in which wing Airmen were called upon to respond across Missouri to keep citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, across the country to provide medical care and support for Afghan refugees, and to deploy around the globe in multiple capacities supporting national strategic objectives.

"Our Airmen were honored to showcase the 131st Bomb Wing's role in executing Team Whiteman's unique mission to the director of the Air National Guard,” said 131st Bomb Wing Commander, Col. Matthew Calhoun. “With this visit, he was able to experience a complete B-2 flight — from simulator, to mission brief, to takeoff and landing a simulated strike mission. He also gained a first-hand understanding of how our Citizen-Airmen work side-by-side with the active duty in Global Strike, as well as our many critical mission sets performed at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.”

Mrs. Loh met with an array of support Airmen during the visit as well, holding candid discussions with senior leaders, first sergeants and wing resiliency team members to identify challenges facing Airmen and existing programs or resources that can be useful solutions. Their trip also included meetings with state leadership, including Governor Mike Parson and Missouri National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Levon Cumpton.