WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) --
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett visited Whiteman Air Force Base June 11 to familiarize herself with Whiteman AFB’s mission in maintaining global support and combat readiness.
During her visit, Barrett spoke with base leaders, first responders and maintenance personnel across the installation.
“It was an honor to showcase Team Whiteman’s unique, strategic mission and the Airmen who make it all possible to the Secretary of the Air Force,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander. “Nuclear deterrence is an immense responsibility and a pillar of our defense—it is imperative that our leaders and the public are confident in our continued readiness amidst the challenges of COVID-19.”
Whiteman AFB is home to the B-2 Spirit, which is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions.
“Since the inaugural test flight 31-years ago next month, the formidable B-2 Spirit has been the world’s most technologically-advanced bomber,” Barrett said. “The B-2 Spirit’s stealth technology, long-range capability and precision-strike payload produce a powerful conventional and nuclear statement: ‘We are here. We are ready to respond. Anytime. Anywhere.’”
She added how the B-2 and the rest of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s strategic bomber force are important to being able to strike anytime and anywhere.
“Maintaining a convincing nuclear deterrent is the National Defense Strategy’s highest modernization priority,” Barrett said. “The U.S. Air Force’s strategic bomber force, as part of the nuclear triad, enables us to customize our force projection around the world. The nuclear bomber is fundamental to securing global stability as well as protecting our nation and allies.”
The B-2 Spirit’s revolutionary blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload gives the B-2 important advantages over existing bombers. Combined with its low-observability, the B-2 has greater freedom of action at high altitudes, which increases its effective range.
As home to the only stealth bomber in the Air Force fleet, Barrett commented on the future of Whiteman AFB and the B-21 Raider.
“Looking to the future, Whiteman (AFB) is well-suited for the anticipated B-21 Raider,” Barrett said. “It offers countless efficiencies, including existing infrastructure and expertise, as well as a tradition of excellence by our Airmen and their community.”
The B-21 will be the next iteration of stealth bomber, set to modernize the current strategic bomber fleet.
“Team Whiteman is more than capable of accomplishing the global strike mission with the B-21 Raider,” Schreiner said. “No matter what aircraft we have here, our professional and highly-trained Airmen and supportive communities will always be ready to answer the nation’s call and provide lethal airpower whenever—and wherever—needed.”
After the visit, Barrett left a simple message about the striker culture and excellence at Whiteman AFB.
“Congratulations on the legacy of innovation and excellence that is part of your DNA as Airmen,” Barrett said. “The nation and our allies depend on you to be ready to serve around the world at a moment’s notice. COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge, but your ingenuity, positive attitude, and commitment ensures Team Whiteman is always prepared to answer the nation’s call.”