NGAUS Washington Report
(Aug. 20, 2013) For the first time, the Pentagon has given an Air National Guard unit the certification to drop nuclear bombs.
The 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., passed the Defense Department’s Initial Nuclear Surety Inspection and may assist with the loading and delivery of the ultimate weapon in America’s arsenal.
The news was reported Friday in The Kansas City Star.
The Air Force Global Strike Force Command administered the certification process, which took four days and covered years of training. The 131st is located with the active-component’s 509th Bomb Wing. Together the units maintain a fleet of B-2 Spirit stealth bombers.
“They’re proud of what they’ve done,” Col. Mike Francis, the Guard wing’s commander, told the newspaper.
A Pentagon spokesman told the newspaper, “It’s a very demanding process and it’s meant to be that way.”
Brig. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, the 509th commander, said “When you walk on the flight line at Whiteman, you can’t tell the difference between an active-duty or Guard pilot, maintainer or load crew team.”