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Goes By So Fast: It's been just over 20 years since the Spirit of America, the first B-2, took off from Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., facility on its maiden flight. Air Force and Northrop officials and employees gathered July 17 at the Palmdale facility to commemorate the flight. Brig. Gen. Robert Wheeler, commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., home to USAF's stealth bomber fleet, told attendees: "The B-2 remains one of the most iconic symbols of freedom for our nation. Its readiness to protect America's interests anywhere in the world is a testament to the talents, courage, and the daily sacrifices of the airmen who fly and maintain the fleet today." Northrop chairman and CEO, Ronald Sugar, noted that the B-2 is "the product of an innovative and enduring partnership" between Northrop Grumman and USAF. He added, "We're looking forward to continuing that strong partnership as we work to modernize and keep the B-2 fleet vibrant for many decades to come." (Northrop release)