Not Safe Yet

There’s more than rumor behind a purported shift of some or all of the Missouri Air National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing from St. Joseph to Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, according to a News-Press report quoting Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.). “I just want to make sure we keep that Guard base in St. Joseph,” Graves told the newspaper, which noted that the state’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. King Sidwell, said officials are reviewing “structural options” for the Air Guard support of the B-2 mission at Whiteman. The Missouri ANG’s 131st Bomb Wing, located at Whiteman, already has partnered with the active bomb wing to operate and maintain B-2s. Under BRAC 2005, the 139th AW was to continue C-130 operations, although it had to give up two of its 12 C-130 transports. Under consideration, according to Sidwell, is a composite wing that would encompass the 139th and 131st, but he told the News-Press, “We can’t trash one community for another.” However, according to the newspaper, Graves and others believe Rep. Ike Skelton (D), who heads the Armed Services Committee and in whose district resides Whiteman, is pushing the Air Guard shuffle to further boost Whiteman.