Raising Spirits

The B-2 bomber fleet set a record in April for sorties and hours flown in a single month, according to officials at Whiteman AFB, Mo., home to these stealth bombers. Members of Whiteman’s 509th Bomb Wing, together with their partners in the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st BW, flew 142 sorties in the month, amassing 839.3 hours, states the base’s May 9 release. “Any bad guy in the world watching us over the last 30 days saw a whole lot of airplanes doing a whole lot of flying. That’s a strong message,” said Col. Chase McCown, 509th Maintenance Group commander. B-2 maintainers achieved a mission-capable rate of nearly 70 percent for the month, some 15 percent above the bombers’ average rate, said McCown. That’s not an easy feat, he said, given the amount of maintenance required to maintain the low-observable qualities of the 20-aircraft fleet. “We proved we have proficient operators and maintainers who can surge operations and put jets in the air,” said Col. Edward Martignetti, 509th Operations Group commander. Among their activity, B-2 pilots flew long-duration sorties, trained with special operators, and worked with F-22s, he said. (Whiteman report by SrA. Bryan Crane)