by Airman Jazmin Smith
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
5/28/2015 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- 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.
In continuing that partnership, Lt. Gen. Philippe Steininger, commander
of the French Air Force's Strategic Air Forces Command, along with a
contingent of FAS members, visited Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri,
May 26-27, where they got an up-close look at B-2 mission and met with
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, AFGSC commander.
This was Steininger's first visit to an AFGSC base since taking command
of the FAS. At Whiteman, Steininger had the chance to fly in a B-2
Spirit stealth bomber, an opportunity only approximately 600 people have
"First of all, being authorized to fly in the B-2 is quite unusual, so I
very much appreciate this honor," said Steininger. "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," said
Steininger. "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."
The United States and France are long-time 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," said Wilson. "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."