WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
Lt. Col. Matthew Howard assumed command of the 131st Operations Group in a ceremony held at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, April 2, 2023.
In his new position, Howard is responsible for leading the group’s operational mission, ensuring the readiness of the unit's personnel and equipment, and providing support to U.S. Strategic Command’s nuclear deterrence mission.
“I'm honored and humbled to be entrusted with the responsibility of commanding the 131st Operations Group,” Howard said. “I look forward to collaborating with my Airmen and keeping us on top of our game.
Howard brings more than 20 years of Air Force experience to the position, the past two as the 110th Bomb Squadron commander. His 21 years of service include leading the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber’s first Bomber Task Force mission to Iceland and helping establish the first F-22 Raptor fighter jets in the Middle East.
During the ceremony, Howard recognized the accomplishments of his predecessor, Col. Luke Jayne, and assured the members of the 131st Operations Group he is committed to continuing the wing’s legacy of excellence.
“I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of the personnel who have served before me,” Howard said. “I look forward to working with the Airmen of the 131st Operations Group, and while I expect high performance, I want them to know I have their backs on any issue they may face.”
The 131st Operations Group is part of the 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, whose primary operational mission is to provide expeditionary, B-2 global strike combat support capabilities for the United States Strategic Command. This is done by training and equipping Airmen to fly the B-2. Operations Group Airmen also maintain the unit's overall combat readiness, operate support functions for tenant and attached units, and perform combat and emergency duty in support of both federal and state missions.