Missouri ANG Flies Last Eagle Sortie

The Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Fighter Wing at Lambert Field near St. Louis celebrated the final sortie by the unit with the F-15C Eagle on June 13, when the last Eagle departed for its new home in Hawaii. BRAC 2005 forced the unit to give up its F-15s, which have gone on to other units, but the wing now is undertaking a classic associate operation with the active-duty B-2 bomber force at Whiteman Air Force Base. Although the unit already has flown its first B-2 mission, the formal designation change—and transfer of about half its airmen to Whiteman—that will make the 131st FW into the 131st Bomb Wing will take place later this year. Some of the unit’s airmen, principally in human resources, security forces, civil engineering, supply, and other base operating support fields, will remain at Lambeth, from which they will support the 131st BW at Whiteman and other Missouri Air Guard units around the state. The unit’s firefighters fell to the BRAC cut. Col. Robert Leeker, wing commander, said June 13: “Today marks our Mission Complete, the mission to comply with BRAC law. There is no doubt that what we started in 2005 with the final BRAC announcement, and now just short of four years later has been the most difficult part of our unit history, the most painful for the members of the 131st and their families.” (131st FW report by Capt. Bridget Zorn)