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GSC pits best against the best

GSC pits best against the best

The 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, took home the Fairchild Trophy for Best Bomb Wing in Global Strike Command during the 2017 Global Strike Challenge. Trophies were awarded during a scoreposting event Nov. 15 at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

GSC pits best against the best

The 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, took home the Blanchard Trophy for Best ICBM Wing in Global Strike Command during the 2017 Global Strike Challenge. Trophies were awarded during a scoreposting event Nov. 15 at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- From November 13 through the 15, Airmen from all wings across Air Force Global Strike Command gathered at the Shreveport Convention Center, Shreveport, Louisiana, to find out who was the best Wing in the command.

“Every other year you compete to see who is the best of the best,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “That’s kind of a competition for bragging rights I guess, but it’s not just about crew dogs in a bomb competition, this is the whole team, and that’s one of the reasons I like what you’re doing.”

Throughout 2017, all bomb and missile wings from AFGSC competed against each other in multiple bomber operations, bomber maintenance, Inter Continental Ballistic Missile operations and maintenance, helicopter operations and Security Forces competitions. This is known as Global Strike Challenge.

The challenge identifies the best operations, maintenance and Security Forces personnel and units performing the AFGSC mission through competition by measuring mission proficiency of teams.

The 2nd Bomb Wing competed for the title of “Best Bomb Wing” through Bomber operations, bomber maintenance and Security Forces competitions. Each competition as well as each section will have their own awards.

The Security Forces units were sent to Camp Guernsey, Wyoming to compete in firing competitions, active shooter drills, resource recovery and mental and physical challenges.

The bomber portions were on June 26th and 28th, with two B-52 Stratofortresses flying each day. They flew to Utah to conduct bombing runs against the B-52s from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, as well as the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit. 

For Bomber Maintenance there is a nuclear and conventional side for each competition which feature crew chiefs, weapons loaders and munitions. The difference between nuclear and conventional competitions is that the nuclear competitions have extra steps and duties due to more requirements.

Global Strike Challenge isn’t just about winning trophies, but also about pushing our Airmen to be even better at their jobs than they were before.

“We put our blood, sweat and tears into practicing, making everything second hand reflexes,” said Senior Airmen Katelyn Sonberg, 2nd Munitions Squadron. “To the competition, watch out because we are coming and we are going to crush you.”

Another way the challenge helps Airmen is that if one Wing is better at one competition than another, they can communicate to further the mission by trading each other’s best practices with each other.

“If we are doing something better than Minot Air Force Base is, or vice versa, this is the time we get to showcase to our command who in turn can take that and assimilate it across the command to make our whole command better,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dean Middleton, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant superintendent.

Not only will this make our Airmen faster and more proficient at their jobs, but also more combat ready.

“The pressure from competition puts the Airmen in a stressed environment,” said Middleton. “If they can operate in that environment, if you put them in a live fire situation or hostile environment the pressure will be different, but it will be pressure none the less.”

After months of competition between Wings across the command, the competitors get to see their hard work pay off at the Global Strike Challenge score posting.