Fri, Jun 27, 2008
Missouri ANG Transitioning From F-15s
Airmen of the 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base
completed the first B-2 Spirit sortie flown and launched by
Missouri Air National Guard members June 18.
Col. Gregory Champagne, the 131st Fighter Wing vice commander,
and Maj. David Thompson, a 131st FW pilot, were launched by Master
Sgt. Bob Francis and Tech Sgt. John Venable, both of the 131st Bomb
The 131st FW is losing its F-15 Eagle mission due to the
recommendation of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
The initiative integrates Air National Guard aircrew, maintainers
and support staff with their 509th Bomb Wing active-duty
counterparts in support of the B-2 mission with the ultimate goal
of enhancing warfighting efficiencies.
"We are currently in the process (of transitioning)," Colonel
Champagne said. "It is a 2.5 year process, and we are in the first
year right now. We are right on time, everything is going
Although guardsmen have been flying B-2 missions with 509th BW
Airmen over the last year, this is first time during the wing's
transition to Whiteman AFB that 131st FW aircrew and maintenance
personnel completed a sortie from launch through mission
"We train the same. We are the same, and our goal is the same,
which is the success of the mission," Colonel Champagne said.
Presently, the Missouri Air National Guard has seven B-2
qualified pilots and four in training. There are 46 members of the
131st FW currently operating out of Whiteman AFB. The Missouri Air
National Guard will have 25 B-2 qualified pilots and approximately
500 maintainers, operations members and support staff at Whiteman
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