Lt. Col. Jared Kennish, 131st Operations Group commander, Missouri Air National Guard, is presented a 1500-hour patch by Lt. Col. Timothy Rezac, 110th Bomb Squadron commander, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., July 9, 2016. Kennish joins a small group of B-2 Spirit pilots that have surpassed the 1,000-hour milestone and currently has the most flying hours of any actively flying B-2 pilot. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

In the photo above, from July 2016, the 131st Bomb Wing patch can be seen on the shoulder of the pilot to the right. The 131st Bomb Wing, a Missouri Air National Guard unit, is located at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri approximately 60 miles to the East of Kansas City. It is an associate unit to the 509th Bomb Wing which means it has no aircraft directly assigned. Instead it utilizes the aircraft assigned to the 509th. Before becoming a Bomb Wing in 2008 and formally moving to Whiteman in 2010, the 131st was a Fighter Wing located at Lambert-St Louis International Airport, Missouri flying the F-15.  In place of the unit designation on the patch the 131st uses its motto, “Parati Ad Agendum,” which translate from Latin as “Ready for Action”.  The Wing patch appears to be a 3″ high patch that is partially embroidered (base material is visible) with a cut edge.

In the photo above and below is pictured the rare B-2 Spirit 1500 Hours patch. The patch and a plaque are awarded by Northrop Grumman to pilots (both crew positions on the B-2 are pilots) who achieve this milestone. The patch says “Long Range Strike” on the top and “1500 B-2 Hours” in the middle. The partially obscured inscription on the bottom says “Northrop Grumman”. There is a 1000 hours version of the patch later in this article which provides a better view of the overall design. Flying hours patches are worn on the wearer’s left shoulder (observer’s right) in place of the higher headquarters patch (in this case, the 131st patch).

The 1500 hours patch is an uncommon patch because: 1) there aren’t that many pilots that have flown the B-2 and 2) the B-2 is not an airframe where you amass a lot of hours quickly. As of July 2019, there were only 14 pilots who have surpassed the 1500 hours mark. Not surprisingly, many of these individuals are Guardsmen. Since Guardsmen typically don’t move units that often and because they don’t have the same career progression requirements as the active duty (i.e. they can stay in the cockpit longer), they tend to have more hours in the same airframe. Most, if not all of the Guardmen in the 131st flew the B-2 on active duty before being “poached” so they typically arrive with a good number of hours in the jet.

In the photo below, from July 2019, you can see a 110th Bomb Squadron patch being worn by the individual on the left. The 110th is the operational B-2 squadron assigned under the 131st.  The patch features a kicking “Missouri Mule” and is the design used during World War I when the unit was the 110th Aero Squadron. Although this is the patch that is worn day-to-day, it technical is not the squadron’s official patch (meaning it is not based on the unit’s official emblem on file).  The patch appears to be approximately 3″ in size and is fully embroidered with a merrowed edge.

 

Col. Matthew Calhoun, the 131st Bomb Wing vice commander, presented Lt. Col. Timothy B. Rezac, commander of the 110th Bomb Squadron, with a commemorative patch on July 2, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Rezac became the 14th ever B-2 Spirit pilot to reach 1500 flight hours in the stealth bomber. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Adkins)

 

Finally, this last photo shows the 1000 hours version of the patch to give you a better look at the overall design.  I am only aware of the 1000 and 1500 versions but there may be other version out there.

A closeup of the 1000 hours flying patch worn by B-2 pilots who have achieved this milestone in flying the B-2 bomber. There are almost 500 pilots who have flown the B-2 Spirit, but only about 30 who have reached 1,000 flying hours. Four of these elite pilots are 131st Bomb Wing Missouri Air National Guard members at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo: Lt. Col. Michael Means who achieved this milestone almost three years ago while on active duty; Lt. Col. Rhett Binger, Jun 2009; and Maj. Jared Kennish, Oct.2009; and Maj. John Avery, Mar. 2010. (Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison. RELEASED)

 

You can read the articles that go along with these images here:

131st Bomb Wing pilot reaches 1,500-hour milestone

Missouri Air National Guard pilot reaches 1500 flying hour mark in B-2 Stealth Bomber

131st Bomb Wing pilots reach 1000 flying hours

 

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