French Air Force Visit Strengthens Partnership
French Air Force Visit
By Airman Jazmin Smith, 509th Bomb Wing Public
Whiteman AFB, Missouri — (AFNS)
— May 29, 2015 — Since its standup in 2009, Air Force Global Strike Command has
worked to build and maintain a strong relationship with its allies in the French
A regular series of exchange visits between leadership,
participation in joint exercises, and attendance at major events, have served to
develop mutual understanding and partnering opportunities between the two
nations' strategic air forces.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson AFGSC explains the wing’s mission to Lt. Gen.
In continuing that partnership, Lt. Gen. Philippe Steininger,
the commander of the French air force's Strategic Air Forces Command, along with
a contingent of French air force members, visited Whiteman Air Force Base May
26-27, where they got an up-close look at B-2 Spirit mission and met with Lt.
Gen. Stephen Wilson, the AFGSC commander.
This was Steininger's first visit to an AFGSC base since
assuming command. He was given the chance to fly in a B-2, an opportunity only
approximately 600 people have had.
B-2A Spirit bomber piloted by Lt. Gen. Philippe Steininger
"First of all, being authorized to fly in the B-2 is quite
unusual, so I very much appreciate this honor," Steininger said. "The people
here at Whiteman have written a part of modern military history. The B-2 brought
spirit to many operations in the past few years ... over the Balkans, over the
Middle East, over Afghanistan, also over North Africa. The longest bombing
mission ever has been flown here out of Whiteman. As a pilot, I'm very happy to
have this tremendous experience on a very impressive jet, and as an officer, I'm
also very proud to have met the people of Whiteman Air Force Base."
While visiting, Steininger and Wilson had an opportunity to
discuss some of the differences and similarities in their operating procedures.
"Our weapons are different, our systems are different, our
format obviously is different, but our challenges are exactly the same,"
Steininger said. "After all, our business is to be ready any time, be highly
professional, be absolutely safe, and that's very true for Air Force Global
Strike Command. That's also very true for my command, so we have a lot to learn
from each other."
Lt. Gen. Philippe Steininger places his unit patch on Air
Force Maj. Alexander Reich
The U.S. and France are longtime allies, having joined forces
on many occasions throughout history. With exchange visits between both
countries, there are ample opportunities to continue strengthening those
"We want to continue to build upon an already great
relationship and that's why these exchanges are really important," Wilson said.
"We have a lot to learn from each other and I hope to continue to build and grow
the relationship between us and the French strategic forces.”