Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has visited Whiteman Air Force Base in west-central Missouri, thanking the airmen who took part in the longest mission in the history of U.S. military aviation. Six B-2 bomber missions were launched from the base. The crews flew for 44 consecutive hours, refuelling in midair, before landing on an island in the Indian Ocean. Rumsfeld was joined in his visit by Senator Christopher Bond and west-central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton.