Missouri Guard's 131st Bomb Wing receives Jimmy Doolittle Award Published March 11, 2014 By Staff Sgt. Sean Navarro 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- In an award presented by General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing was recognized as a Jimmy Doolittle Educational Fellow by the Central Florida Chapter of Air Force Association at the chapter's Air Force Gala banquet on February 20. The Jimmy Doolittle award, which honors the men and women who have supported the Air Force and the Air Force Association since their inception, was awarded to the 131st for its work in power projection. The AFA also acknowledged the 131st's unique classic association with the active duty 509th Bomb Wing. The Air Force Association chooses a different theme each year. This year's theme recognizes four units whose members are serving as Citizen-Airmen. "We chose units that represent the best in their category: homeland protection and power projection," said Tim Brock, Air Force Gala chairman. Maj. Michael Belardo of the 131st Operations Group represented the 131st at the ceremony. "It was a great honor to represent the 131st Bomb Wing and accept the award for the men and women that worked hard to earn it," said Belardo, a B-2 weapons officer. The Jimmy Doolittle Educational Fellowship was established in honor of Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, who actively promoted public understanding and support for aerospace power. Also present for the award were Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Chief Master Sgt. Gary Brown, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody, Air Force Association Central Florida Chapter President Bill Palmby, and Air Force Gala Chairman Tim Brock. "This honor reflects the dedication and discipline of the 131st Bomb Wing's Airmen," said Col. Michael Francis, 131st Bomb Wing commander. "We did not do this alone, though, and share this honor with our active duty wingmen at the 509th Bomb Wing and the entire Missouri Air National Guard."