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Pilot boasts 1,000 flight hours in stealth bomber

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James Ashlock, 131st Bomb Wing director of plans and programs, stands in front of a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 18, 2020. Throughout Ashlock’s career, he has completed 208 sorties,  during his final flight before retiring he reached the milestone of flying 1000 hours in a B-2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James Ashlock, 131st Bomb Wing director of plans and programs, stands in front of a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 18, 2020. Throughout Ashlock’s career, he has completed 208 sorties, during his final flight before retiring he reached the milestone of flying 1000 hours in a B-2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing refuel a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 18, 2020. This mission allowed the 509th Bomb Wing and the 131st Bomb Wing to work and train together as part of the Total Force Integration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing refuel a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 18, 2020. This mission allowed the 509th Bomb Wing and the 131st Bomb Wing to work and train together as part of the Total Force Integration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christina Carter)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

A Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col., from the 131st Bomb Wing marked a major flying milestone, completing 1,000 flying hours in the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber.

Lt. Col. James Ashlock, director of plans and programs, has served in the U.S. Air Force, both active duty and Air National Guard for 20 years.

The U.S. Air Force has a fleet of 20 stealth bombers. The average mission ranges from two to five hours, while other training missions require 24 hours of flying. In the history of the B-2 Spirit, only 71 of 500 pilots have reached 1,000 flight hours.

"Completing 1,000 hours in the B-2 is a significant milestone," Ashlock said. "It represents many hours spent serving my country, at the expense of spending quality time with my family."

Ashlock’s peers also acknowledge his selfless service and dedication.

"I've known James for almost 15 years, dating back to our days on active duty," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Jayne, 110th Bomb Squadron commander. "A majority of his career has been here at Whiteman AFB. I believe the mission of the B-2 Spirit has greatly benefited by his professionalism and expertise."

According to Jayne, Ashlock leaves behind a career to be emulated by present and future pilots.

"The younger generation should take notes of his dedication to this service and our country," Jayne said. "He brings so much knowledge and experience to the force. I cannot think of anyone better to have served with. He has the best attitude and perspective on life."

As he retires, Ashlock leaves behind a legacy of dedication and hopefulness."At a time when the country is crippled with fear, it is increasingly important to show continuity in what we can control," Ashlock said. "Visions of the B-2 Spirit flying bring pride and comfort to people desperately in need of normalcy. Whiteman AFB demonstrates the strength and perseverance of our military and our country."