Whiteman Air Force Base

1942 - Present

In 1942, the US Army established a training site for gilder crews two miles south of Knob Knoster that would eventually become Whiteman Air Force Base. Although the site was deactivated after World War II, improvements were made beginning in 1951 for its return to service. The site became home to the 340th Bombardment Wing on October 20, 1952, and two years later, the newest American aircraft, the B-47 Stratojet and KC-97 tanker arrived there. On December 3, 1955, it was named in honor of 2nd Lieutenant George Whiteman of Pettis County. Lieutenant Whiteman was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor as he attempted to take off from Bellows Field in his P-40B. He is believed to have been one of the first American airmen killed during World War II and posthumously received the Silver Star and Purple Heart.

In June 1961, Whiteman Air Force Base was chosen by the Department of Defense to host the fourth Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system. Construction began the following year on underground launch facilities and control centers. The project required excavating 867,000 cubic yards of earth and rock. The system ran on a network of cables that would have stretched 100 miles beyond Los Angeles if laid straight.

The biggest change to Whiteman came on January 5, 1987, when Congressman Ike Skelton announced the new B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber would make its first deployment there. More construction ensued to prepare the site to accommodate the high-tech bomber, which first arrived at Whiteman on December 17, 1993. Throughout its long history, Whiteman Air Force Base has played an important role in our national defense systems.

Object Details

Categories: Health, Science & Technology, War & Conflict

Date: 1942 - Present

Subject: Whiteman Air Force Base; United States. Air Force; Stealth airplanes; Bombers (airplanes); Whiteman, George

Contributing Institution: Springfield-Greene County Library District

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County: Johnson

Region: Northwest

Type: Photograph

Latitude: 38.729639

Longitude: -93.559016

Photographer: Ben Divin