WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Maj. Geoffrey took off on an ordinary B-2 training mission June 13. Exactly two weeks later, Lt. Col. Dave took off on another B-2 training mission. Both assigned to the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing, their normal missions turned extraordinary when on these flights they each surpassed 1,000 flying hours in the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
Only 31 B-2 pilots have reached 1,000 flying hours, with Maj. Geoffrey and Lt. Col. Dave reaching that mark, seven of those are pilots from the Missouri Air Guard.
The pilots, however, see this achievement as part of a larger effort by those in the unit.
"There are so many people involved in the process of preparing and launching the jet every time we take off," said Maj. Geoffrey. "They are true professionals, and I've enjoyed working with them tremendously."
That translates to greater success in the larger B-2 mission.
"This achievement really is small compared to the herculean efforts that have gone into getting the 131st to where it is today, living and breathing the B-2 mission," Col. Dave said.
But both pilots said flying the aircraft is something special.
"This is a unique aircraft with a unique mission," Maj. Geoffrey said of the stealth bomber. "I'm privileged to fly it."
He added that the aircraft is incredible to fly. His role in the wing involves operational tests of new weapons, hardware and software when they are added to the B-2.
"We run a checkout of the new equipment before it's fielded for the bomb wing," said Maj. Geoffrey. "We also evaluate the individual aircraft to ensure they are as stealthy as the day they were built."
It was during one of these 16-hour test flights he passed the 1,000-hour mark.
Lt. Col. Dave, currently the commander of the Missouri Air Guard's 110th Bomb Squadron, became the first Air National Guard B-2 instructor pilot in 2007, and then flew the first "all-Guard" flight later that year. That flight was launched, flown, and recovered completely by Missouri Air Guard personnel.
"I am so proud to be part of this team that is the 131st Bomb Wing," he said "Every day I see and hear about the amazing ways that the Guard has impacted this incredibly important mission."
That success, and reaching the 1,000-hour mark, are just another part of the 131st BW.
"This is truly representative of the 131st Bomb Wing and the Air National Guard," said Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Pyburn, commander of the wing's 131st Operations Group. "We bring unparalleled experience, expertise and qualification levels to the fight in support of our active duty Total Force partners, our state and this nation."
(Editor's note: The last names of some individuals in this story have been removed for security reasons.)