The Leading Edge

Ten years ago this month, six B-2s from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., struck the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, kick-starting Operation Enduring Freedom. One of the B-2s in that initial wave flew a 44.3-hour mission, still the longest bombing mission in aviation history, according to the wing. More than a decade later, some of those same B-2 pilots remain involved in the aircraft’s conventional and nuclear strategic deterrent mission, said wing officials. And, the B-2s continue to be the leading edge when the nation needs them. Earlier this year, in March, B-2s took off from Whiteman to drop bombs on former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s forces in Libya, again opening the doors to a conflict, this time NATO’s air war. (Whiteman report by SrA. Cody H. Ramirez)