All About Missouri Military Bases & History

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Missouri is part of the American Midwest states and is the inspiration for the American Dream. Among its many offerings are essential military institutions. You will not find the biggest bases there, but they are still strategic and rank 34th per capita and 30th per square mile Military Bases. In addition, Missouri is a landlocked state; therefore, the Navy and Coast Guard are not represented.

The U.S. Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster is the only USAF military base in Missouri, and the Leonard Wood Army Base in Pulaski County is the only US Army Base in Missouri. In addition, the Air National Guard operates from three locations in Missouri, with its HQ in Rosecrans Base, St. Joseph.

The Missouri military bases are limited to only two, with some Air National Guard Bases strategically situated across the state. However, their missions and roles remain critical to ensuring safety and freedom by achieving success through essential and challenging training and advanced technology. In addition, Missouri prides itself as the hosting state for, amongst others, the B-2 stealth bombers.

Military Bases In Missouri And Their History

Although the Army constitutes the majority of military personnel in Missouri with the presence of Fort Leonard Wood, the Air Force is well represented with the Whiteman Air Force Base. In addition, the Missouri Air National Guard bases in Knobnoster, St. Joseph, and St. Louis host several essential air operations.

There are no U.S. Marine and Navy bases in Missouri; however, they still benefit from the state-of-the-art training facilities provided in the Missouri military facilities. In addition, many of the larger Army and Air Force Bases host Navy and Marine personnel. Lastly, the U.S. Marine Corps Mobilization Command base in Kansas City, MO, is no longer active.

The Whiteman Air Force Base In Knobnoster, MO

The Whiteman Air Force Base in Knobnoster, Missouri, just 10 miles from The University of Central Missouri, hosts Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel and several Air Force units. The well-known 509th Bomb Wing, which cares for and operates the B-2 stealth bombers, is an example. Other examples of housed aircraft include the A-10 Thunderbolt II ground fighter and the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber not only has a rich history in combat but is also significant to the overall Air Force military ability. Therefore, the Whiteman Base in Missouri is crucial and strategic. The stealth bomber was successful in the Serbian combat and headed the military reactions after the 9/11 attacks on US soil. Also, this bomber was the first plane to enter the Afghanistan war air space.

In addition, the Army National Guard’s 1/135th Aviation Battalion and the Navy Reserve’s Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 114 are also at Whiteman Air Force Base. This Air Force Base is also the center of US military command and houses personnel, conducts training operations, and stores equipment.

Although this Base is home to many other units, the same mission drives them all – to deliver sufficient air power for the United States and provide a resilient force to the enemy with adequate assuring comfort to the allies.

The History Of The Whiteman Air Force Base

The history of this Base began in 1942 when the Sedalia Army Air Field was part of the World War II operations for the C-46 and C-47 planes. The Sedalia Air Field was deactivated after the war, and in 1951 the Air Force decided to utilize the Airfield. They named the facility in honor of 2nd Lieutenant George Whiteman; the first pilot killed in Hawaii during the Pearl Harbor attack.

The Leonard Wood Army Base In Pulaski, MO

The Fort Leonard Wood Army Base is a massive training facility in the middle of the Ozark region of Pulaski County in Missouri, close to Waynesville and St. Robert cities. Both these cities share the only regional airport at Fort Leonard Wood. In addition, Fort Leonard Wood consists of about 63,000 acres and covers 98 square miles.

The remoteness and rural environment are ideal for military training, and this facility quickly adopted the nickname Fort Lost and the Woods of Misery. Apart from basic training, this facility also does training classes for new 2nd Lieutenants and the Advanced Leaders Courses, to name a few. Therefore, Fort Leonard Wood is the Army training facility that almost all personnel visit at one point or another.

It is a growing training facility that started as a small installation many decades ago and grew to a premier Army Training Facility, training almost 100,000 military and civilians yearly. Also, this facility caters to over a thousand military students. Other school examples at Fort Leanard Wood are Marine, Military Police, Chemical and Nuclear training, and the Engineer Equipment Instruction School.

In addition, the Fort Leonard Wood Specker Barracks, within Fort Leonard Wood, serves as a military command center for US military personnel. The Base also houses personnel, training operations, and stores equipment.

The History Of The Leonard Wood Army Base

This Base was built in 1940 and named after Chief of Staff General Leonard Wood as an infantry training facility after World War II. However, shortly after its inception, it became an engineer training post. Subsequently, two other training schools relocated to Leonard Wood, and it became the preferred training center for the Chemical and Police Corps.

In 2009 the Base received full status as the designated Center of Excellence for basic combat training. In addition, at one point in the past, the facility was a busy railway station connecting the facility and civilian commercial railway systems. Although this connection still exists, the operation was scaled to only two train engines operating twenty cars transporting heavy equipment for training operations.

The Air National Guard Bases In Missouri

The Missouri Air National Guard occupies three bases in Missouri: Knob Noster, St. Joseph, and St. Louis. These bases host citizen airmen, and their primary mission in peacetime are to train and prepare the reservists to respond to emergencies when proclaimed by the Governor of Missouri. The HQ of the Missouri Air National Guard is at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph.

The Rosecrans Air National Guard Base is situated in St. Joseph and concentrates on Air Mobility to deliver global air equipment and war and peacetime training supplies. In addition, this Base also has a Homeland Defense mandate with the responsibility to support the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center (AATTC), also located on the Base. The 139th and the 180th Airlift units are also based there.

The Jefferson Barracks Air Guard Station in St. Louis focuses on assisting ground forces in controlling regional airspace. In addition, they direct joint service aircraft in planning and coordinating close air operations with intelligence gathering and airlifting. The military operations on Jefferson Barracks run under the 131st Bomb Wing authority with its HQ at Whiteman Air Force Base.

Several Air Operation Groups are based at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, for example, the 157th Air Operations Group, the 231st Civil Engineering Flight, the 239th Combat Communications Squadron, half of the 131st Mission Support Group, and the 35th Military Police Brigade.

Knobnoster plays host to the third Air National Guard Base and is stationed at the Whiteman Air Force Base. Currently, the 131st Bomb Wing is the only Air National Guard B-2 Wing and operates in association with the USAF 509th Bomb Wing. This Missouri Air National Guard in Knobnoster is also home to the Missouri Army National Guard’s 1/135th Aviation Battalion.

The History Of The Air National Guard Bases In Missouri

The US Air Force became a separate military service in 1947, establishing the Air National Guard as a reserve unit of the Air Force. This separation applies to the Rosecrans Air National Guard’s history in St. Joseph. The Air Force acquired the Base from the Army, and in 1948 they returned the ground to the city except for 142 acres for use by the Air National Guard.

The flying operations of the St. Louis Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard changed in 2008 with the closure of the firehouse, and the 131st Fighter Wing departed from the Lambert International Airport to Whiteman Air Force Base in Knobnoster. The HQ of the Missouri Air National Guard also relocated from Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, to Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph.

Typically, these civilian airmen and women will conduct training sessions and support peacetime missions in their respective areas. However, after the September 2001 attacks on the US, portions of all the Air National Guard units in Missouri have been activated to support their respective areas in the Global War on Terrorism.

Final Thoughts On The Missouri Military Bases

Because Missouri is landlocked, it does not have any specific military bases for the U.S. Marines or US Navy in the state. However, the Army has one Base in Pulaski County, The Leonard Wood Army Base, and the Air Force has one Base in Knob Noster, The Whiteman Air Force Base. In addition, The Air National Guard has three bases in the state and operates from St. Joseph, St Louis, and Knob Noster.

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