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Number Four Nineteen

UCM Aviation Graduate Joins B-2 Elite
By Jeff Murphy

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A routine workday in a third-floor office of the University of Central Missouri's Administration Building halted momentarily Dec. 17, 1993, when an employee spotted something unusual outside a window.

"You've got to come see this," she gasps, motioning to a couple of co-workers who quickly join her. Hoping for a better look outdoors, one darts down three flights of steps.

What amazed all three was actually an historic moment for the county. The Spirit of Missouri, the first B-2 bomber, had just been delivered to Whiteman Air Force Base.

Sightings of similar aircraft have become commonplace throughout the years as the number of B-2s have increased at the base just nine miles east of campus. But this unique bomber's attention-grabbing capacity hasn't diminished. Today, whether it's flying over the campus or community, people seemingly still can't resist the urge to stop and gawk at this highly sophisticated machine, a craft still amazingly futuristic-looking, even in its 20th year of service.

Last fall, UCM alumnus and current graduate student Allen Clark became a member of an elite group of only 272 people who have earned pilot ratings in the B-2 Stealth Bomber. He is the 419th person to fly in the stealth.

Twenty-nine-year-old Capt. Allen Clark understands the fascination. Although the UCM alumnus and current graduate student sees the airplane today from a new perspective, he still remembers when he first encountered the jet as a young man wearing a t-shirt with images of the "flying wing."

"I have always admired the plane," he says, standing in front of a huge climate-controlled hangar at WAFB, which houses the Spirit of Hawaii, one of the B-2 fleet. "Honestly, even today when someone flies over, I have to stop and watch it. It's just an awe-inspiring aircraft."

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