WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. – Successfully completing 1,500 flight hours is an accomplishment few achieve and one to be remembered. Doing so in a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is rarer still.
Lt. Col. Drew Irmischer, the 110th Bomb Squadron’s director of operations, 131st Bomb Wing, became the 17th member of this elite community when he safely touched down in the stealth bomber Jan. 27.
“I think it’s truly an honor just to be in the same category as some of the other really high-time B-2 pilots that I’ve looked up to throughout my career,” he said. “It’s been a great opportunity to be with the B-2 community, especially the 131st. I was excited. But the level of accomplishment didn’t set in for a few days.”
A milestone such as this is commendable throughout the pilot community.
“This accomplishment is one to be proud of in any B-2 pilot’s career,” said Col. Jared Kennish, the 131st Bomb Wing vice wing commander who has reached the same mark. “It demonstrates the dedication and commitment of the pilot and the Airmen on the ground who make the mission possible.”
Irmischer began flying the B-1 Lancer bomber at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. This is also where he got his call sign, “Lefty.”
“While I was going through the mission qualification training, I was on a squadron ski trip, and I ended up breaking my left arm while snowboarding,” he said. “Lefty stuck.”
Irmischer flew the B-1 for three years and deployed after 9/11, flying combat missions in Afghanistan.
Irmischer started amassing flight hours in the revered airframe in 2004 when he transitioned to the B-2.
From there, he worked his way up through the B-2 community and eventually switched from active duty to the Missouri Air National Guard.
“When I joined the Guard in 2016, I was the 131st chief of safety for a few years,” he said. “Then I went and flew for a commercial airline for about a year before coming back full time as the 110th director of operations.”
Irmischer’s active duty experience carried over to the Guard smoothly due to guidance from other Guard pilots and his familiarity with the B-2 community and aircraft.
“Being in the Guard and part of the 131st and the 110th has been my best experience in the military,” he said. “The people, atmosphere and the culture of the 131st are much more conducive to my personality.”