Whiteman welcomes civilian employers to first-ever 131st Bomb Wing Bosses Day

  • Published
  • By Airman Halley Burgess
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The 131st Bomb Wing welcomed civilian employers of Missouri Air National Guard members for Bosses Day tour here Oct. 4.

The event, which has not been held since the unit moved from St. Louis in 2007, provided an opportunity for members of the 131st to show their appreciation for Missouri businesses and to provide insight into the Whiteman mission, showing civilian employers why their support is so necessary to the success of their Airmen.

A number of employers met with Col. Kenneth Eaves, 131st Bomb Wing vice commander, for a welcome briefing which provided an overview of the mission and the history of the 131st Bomb Wing, as well as information about the aircraft flown at Whiteman - specifically, the B-2 Spirit bomber. 

Eaves thanked the employers for their support, recognizing the sacrifices that they endure while Airmen are answering their nation's call.

"We in the leadership greatly appreciate what you do and what you do for our Airmen and your support for them," Eaves expressed to the group. "It means a lot for you all to be out here."

After the briefing, the employers were taken to Whiteman's Oscar-1 museum, a decommissioned missile alert facility from the Cold War. They were given the opportunity to learn the history and capabilities of the facility, as well as go underground to see the control room.

During lunch at the Royal Oaks Golf Course, the employers had a chance to eat with their Airmen and to listen to a briefing by James Carver, administrative support technician for the Department of Defense's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program.

"We all serve, including employers," said Carver. "Our employers serve in the defense of this great nation through their support of these people that are already in the military."

Carver gave each employer a certificate of appreciation for their continued support of the Air National Guard.

A tour of the B-2 was next on the agenda, and the employers got up close and personal with the foreboding aircraft.  Each guest was allowed to climb into the cockpit of the highly guarded stealth bomber, and to walk under the bomb bays.

Jennifer Splaingard, employer to the 131st Maintenance Squadron's Staff Sgt. Shawn Van Horn, said working with Air National Guard members has been exceptional.

"Not only do they come with a leadership capability from a military stand point," said, who works with Sergeant Van Horn at The Boeing Company. "They already know a lot of the products, and they already know a lot of the customers, and that is highly valued."

The last stop on the tour included a look at the weapons load trainer. Employers and their Airmen were shown simulated ammunition carried by the B-2 aircraft.

The day came to a close with the bosses being released to their respective Airmen, giving the Airmen a chance to show their employers what it is they do part-time. Both Airmen and bosses alike said the enjoyed the experience.

"He was very excited about being able to come out to an Air Force base and see the B-2 bomber," said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Elmendorf, 131st MXS. "He was extremely energetic and enthused about coming out here."

The opportunity further drove home the importance of what the Airmen do for the Missouri Air National Guard, as well as how appreciated and valued the support of civilian employers are to the success of the 131st Bomb Wing mission.