Team Whiteman reaches TFI milestone

  • Published
  • By SSgt,. Meiko Schill
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The Director of the Air National Guard visited Whiteman June 4 to celebrate the integration of the active duty and National Guard bomb wings here by unveiling a 131st Bomb Wing patch on the B-2 "Spirit of Missouri."

Lt. Gen. Harry M. "Bud" Wyatt III met with members of the 131st and 509th Bomb Wings and flew on a B-2 as part his visit in celebration of this latest milestone in the Total Force Integration process.

Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard, Brig. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, 509th BW commander, and Col. Greg Champagne, 131st BW commander, were among the dignitaries present for the unveiling ceremony.

"The 131st BW members are an example the Air National Guard needs to look to as well for classic associations in the Air Force," said General Wyatt. "What a great partnership and great capability you bring to the fight. When I see the level of participation from the 131st BW in Operation Odyssey Dawn it amazes me."

The 131st BW's classic association with the 509th BW is a great model that brings two Wings together to form a Total Force team, the general said. The premise of a classic association is to provide Air National Guard manpower to make up for shortfalls in active duty manning, thus allowing higher force levels at a reduced cost.

"You are a great example of a classic association, the epitome of what we need to be doing in the Guard and demonstrating the value of the Guard to the country, and you're showing it every day," said General Danner.

Both bomb wings have marked several successes in the short time the 131st BW has been at Whiteman AFB. On opening night of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the NATO mission in Libya enforcing a no-fly zone, three B-2 bombers maintained and operated by an integrated team destroyed 45 hardened aircraft shelters used by Ghadafi's regime. The integrated wings also received top honors during the Global Strike Challenge competition in 2010, taking home the prestigious Fairchild Trophy.

Master Sgt. Craig Kuzara, 131st BW Maintenance Squadron, was honored as the first Air National Guard Dedicated Crew Chief for the B-2 "Spirit of Nebraska." Master Sgt. Phillip Johnson, 131st BW Maintenance Squadron aero repair supervisor, was recognized for his efforts in improving aircraft maintenance procedures with a Commendation medal, and the integrated Wings received the James G. Roche Sustainment Excellence Award.

"Members of the 131st BW take great pride in flying, maintaining and supporting the B-2 Spirit mission," said Chief Master Sgt. Ken Slabaugh, the 131st Bomb Wing Maintenance Squadron's superintendent. "Seeing the 131st BW patch on the B-2 is a huge step in solidifying the Total Force Integration."