Whiteman Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: SZL, ICAO: KSZL, FAA LID: SZL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Knob Noster, Missouri; 70 miles (110 km) east-southeast of Kansas City, Missouri.
The host unit at Whiteman AFB is the 509th Bomb Wing (509 BW), assigned to the Eighth Air Force of the Air Force Global Strike Command . The 509 BW operates the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, designed to be employed to strike high-value targets that are either out of range of conventional aircraft or considered to be too heavily defended for conventional aircraft to strike without a high risk of loss.
Whiteman AFB was established in 1942 as Sedalia Glider Base. The commander of the 509th Bomb Wing is Brigadier General Robert E. Wheeler. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Tim Cooley.
Whiteman AFB is a joint-service base, being the home of Air Force, Army and Navy units. It is the primary station of the USAF 509th Bomb Wing also host of the Air Force Reserve 442nd Fighter Wing. It also hosts the Army National Guard's 1/135th Aviation Battalion and the Navy Reserve's Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 114.
The 509 BW is one of only two Air Force units to operate the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The unit can launch combat sorties directly from Missouri to any spot on the globe, engaging adversaries with large payloads of traditional or precision-guided munitions. The 509th led the way for America's first military response following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. in September 2001. B-2 bombers were the first U.S. aircraft to enter Afghan airspace in October 2001, paving the way for other coalition aircraft to engage Taliban and Al Queda forces. During this operation, the aircraft flew roundtrip from Missouri, logging combat missions in excess of 40 hours - the longest on record.
Other aircraft assigned to Whiteman are the A-10 Thunderbolt II; T-38 Talon and the AH-64 Apache helicopter.
The 509th Bomb Wing consists of the following groups:
The 131st Bomb Wing is a unit of the Missouri Air National Guard. It is located at Whiteman AFB as an associate unit of the 509th Bomb Wing
The 442nd Fighter Wing, an Air Force Reserve Command unit controlled by the Tenth Air Force
In addition, the wing boasts the 442nd Medical Squadron, as well as a wing staff. There are also two geographically separated units that report to the 442nd Fighter Wing. The 710th Medical Squadron and 610th Intelligence Operations Flight, both located at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, look to the 442nd FW for support in accomplishing their missions.
The 476th Fighter Group, stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, is an Air Force Reserve Command unit linked to the 23rd Fighter Group at Moody. The 442 FW oversees the 476th FG's administrative and mission-support needs not provided by Moody's host, active-duty wing. It consists of the following squadrons:
Missouri Army National Guard 1st Battalion 135th Attack Reconnaissance Brigade, AH-64 Apache
the Navy Reserve's Maritime Expeditionary Security Division 13, which provides light, mobile, short-duration, point defense Anti-Terrorism Force Protection forces for USN ships and aircraft and other high value assets in locations where U.S. or host-nation security infrastructure is either inadequate or non-existent.
Named in honor of 2d Lieutenant George Allison Whiteman (1919–1941). On 7 December 1941 Lieutenant Whiteman attempted to take off from Wheeler Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Hit by enemy fire, his P-40 Warhawk crashed and Lieutenant Whiteman became the first member of the United States armed forces to die in aerial combat in World War II
Established as: Sedalia Glider Base, 1 March 1942
Major commands to which assigned
Major units assigned
World War II
The base had it beginnings in 1942 when US Army Air Corps officials selected the site of the present-day base to be the home of Sedalia Army Air Field and a training base for WACO glider pilots.
In May 1942, construction workers descended upon an area known to locals as the "Blue Flats" because of the color of the soil and began building a railroad spur for the new air base. The new railroad line, laid by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, was only the beginning. The runways, the main impetus for the base, required 27,800 square yards of concrete. The entire runway was poured in 18 hours during a driving Midwestern rainstorm. The base reached a major milestone on 6 August 1942 when the Army declared the field officially open.
In November 1942, the installation became Sedalia Army Air Field and was assigned to the XII Troop Carrier Command of the Army Air Force. The field served as a training site for glider tactics and paratroopers. It was one of the eight bases in the United States dedicated to training glider pilots for combat missions performed by the Troop Carrier Command. Pilots flew C-46 or C-47 transports and several types of cargo and personnel gliders, usually the Waco CG-4A. The forest green, fabric-covered gliders could carry 15 fully equipped men or a quarter-ton truck plus a smaller crew. They were towed in either single or double tow behind the transport aircraft and could land on fields not equipped for larger aircraft.
In the opening months of 1945 Sedalia AAFld began converting from C-47s to C-46s. By July and August 1945, the base had assumed the function of providing central instructor training for all combat crew training bases throughout the I Troop Carrier Command. This program provided skills and teaching methods in all aspects of troop carrier flying.
During the massive demobilization in the mid 1940s, the base closed and most of the buildings were abandoned.
In August 1951, SAC selected Sedalia AFB to be one of its new bombardment wings, with the first all-jet bomber, the B-47 Stratojet, and the KC-97 aerial refueling tanker assigned to the unit. Construction of facilities was conducted by the 4224th Air Base Squadron until October 20, 1952, when the base was turned over to the 340th Bombardment Wing. The first B-47 arrived on March 25, 1954 and six months later the first KC-97 arrived
On Dec. 3, 1955, Sedalia AFB became Whiteman AFB in honor of 2nd Lt. George A. Whiteman. Lieutenant Whiteman, a native of Sedalia, was one of the first American airmen killed in World War II when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.
During the attack of Bellows Air Field, Oahu, Lieutenant Whiteman managed to reach his fighter aircraft. While attempting to take off, enemy fighters attacked his plane. Sadly, Lieutenant Whiteman's P-40 crashed, fatally injuring the mid-Missouri native. By the time rescue teams reached the aircraft, Whiteman had died.
Construction on Whiteman continued throughout the 1950s. During this period, the Air Force built military family housing units as well as a base pool and gymnasium. However, a project on a much grander scale soon overshadowed this flurry of construction.
In June 1961, the Department of Defense chose Whiteman to host the fourth Minuteman ICBM wing. On Jan. 17, 1962, the firm of Morrison, Hardeman, Perrini, and Level received the prime contract for construction of hardened, underground launch facilities and 15 launch control centers. The project called for the excavation of 867,000 cubic yards of earth and rock.
The contractors used 168,000 yards of concrete, 25,355 tons of reinforcing steel and 15,120 tons of structural steel. In addition, the project called for the installation of a vast underground intersite cable network. If laid end to end in a straight line, this cable would stretch from Whiteman AFB to 100 miles beyond Los Angeles. Construction of the complex was officially completed in June 1964.
Before completion of the construction, SAC activated the 351st Strategic Missile Wing at Whiteman on Feb. 1, 1963. The 340th BMW gradually phased out operations during the same year with its remnants transferring to Bergstrom AFB, Texas, on Sept. 1, 1963.
After the mission change in 1963, life on Whiteman remained relatively stable throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Still, there were programs to continually update and improve the base's weapons systems.
Whiteman initially employed the Minuteman I weapons system until the mid-1960s when a force modernization program converted the Minuteman I to the Minuteman II. Throughout the ICBM's tenure at Whiteman, it went through a variety of modifications to keep it at the forefront of America's defense.
Several new buildings emerged from time to time as the base matured. However, with the beginning of the 1980s, a new construction phase started. New missile operations, maintenance and security police facilities as well as several enlisted dormitories marked the start of a new era.
Meanwhile, the base continued to lead the way. In the late 1980s, the 351st fielded the first female Minuteman missile crew, the first male and female Minuteman crew, and the first squadron commander to pull alert in the Minuteman system. Under the provisions of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the Minuteman II system is being inactivated.
Then came an announcement that would change Whiteman forever. On Jan. 5, 1987, Congressman Ike Skelton revealed that the first deployment of the B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber would be at Whiteman. Beginning in 1988, a massive construction wave that created new buildings designed for B-2 operations, maintenance and support activities swept over the base.
On July 1, 1990, the 100th Air Division activated at Whiteman and assumed host responsibilities for the base. Accordingly, the 351st Combat Support Group and the 351st Security Police Group, along with their assigned units and the squadrons under the deputy commander for resource management, inactivated at Whiteman. Concurrently, the Air Force activated equivalent squadrons bearing the 800th designator to replace the inactivated 351st units.
Several months after the air division's activation, on Sept. 30, 1990, the 509th Bomb Wing moved its headquarters to Whiteman albeit in an unmanned and non-operational state.
However, the 100th AD's tenure at Whiteman did not last long as SAC inactivated the unit on July 26, 1991. Similarly, Whiteman's host unit responsibilities reverted to the 351st.
During the next two years, Whiteman's building infrastructure continued to grow as the arrival date of the first B-2 drew nearer. Meanwhile, another change developed in the Air Force.
With the end of the Cold War, the Air Force disestablished Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command and Military Air Command on June 1, 1992. In their place arose two new organizations, one of which was Air Combat Command, the 509th's newer, higher headquarters.
On April 1, 1993, the 509th returned to operational status when people from Detachment 509, the base's B-2 overseers for the past two years, were formally assigned to the wing. Then, on July 1, 1993, the 509th accepted the host responsibilities for Whiteman from the 351st and a new era dawned for the base. Several days later, on July 20, 1993, flying operations returned to the base after a 30-year hiatus when the first permanently assigned T-38 landed at Whiteman.
Then, on Dec. 17, 1993, the event that Whiteman had long awaited finally arrived. On that day, at approximately 2 p.m., a dark jet bomber swooped from the sky and landed on the Whiteman runway. Amid much fanfare, the first operational B-2, The Spirit of Missouri, had arrived. Less than a week later, on Dec. 22, 1993, Whiteman again made history as it generated the first B-2 sortie from the base.
On June 12, 1994, the base welcomed the 442nd Fighter Wing. The 442nd, an Air Force Reserve unit previously assigned to Richards-Gebaur AFB, Mo., transferred to Whiteman after the closure of that installation.
Yet, the 442nd was not really a newcomer to the base. On Sept. 1, 1943, the then-called 442nd Troop Carrier Group activated at Sedalia Army Air Field. It subsequently remained at the base until December 1943.
In 1995 the base also lost one of its long-time resident units. On July 31, 1995, the 351st Missile Wing officially inactivated, ending its 33-year association with Whiteman AFB.
Throughout its history, the base has always been at the forefront of national defense. With the arrival of the first B-2 and the subsequent assignment of others, the future for the installation does, indeed, look bright for many years to come.
On Feb. 1, 2010, the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base became part of the newly created Air Force Global Strike Command.
Whiteman AFB is located at(38.732758, -93.554851).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.4 km² (5.2 mi²), all land. Part of the base is a census-designated place (CDP); it had a population of 3,814 at the 2000 census.
Nearby towns include Knob Noster and Warrensburg.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,814 people, 931 households, and 901 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 284.8/km² (737.7/mi²). There were 982 housing units at an average density of 73.3/km² (189.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 81.78% White, 9.73% Black or African American, 0.66% Native American, 1.73% Asian, 0.45% Pacific Islander, 2.20% from other races, and 3.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.74% of the population.
There were 931 households out of which 79.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 90.1% were married couples living together, 4.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 3.2% were non-families. 2.7% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.53 and the average family size was 3.56.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 37.6% under the age of 18, 25.7% from 18 to 24, 35.5% from 25 to 44, 1.2% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females there were 125.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 130.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $33,664, and the median income for a family was $32,586. Males had a median income of $22,095 versus $16,466 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,538. About 5.6% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
Whiteman in Pop Culture
Whiteman was one of the settings for the television movie The Day After.
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