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Partnership in Strength: Global Strike Airmen come together through exchange course

By Maj Phil Ventura 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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While standing alert in a Montana-based missile silo and flying a globe-spanning bomber assure and deter mission from Louisiana may seem to have little in common, they are united in a shared intent: defending America through deterrence.

Recognizing this critical commonality, the wing commanders of Barksdale Air Force Base’s 2nd Bomb Wing and Malmstrom Air Force Base’s 341st Missile Wing recently formalized a “sister-base” partnership - officially called the Bomber Missile Exchange Course - that will enable warfighters from each organization to mix with and learn from one another through regularly scheduled cross-flow opportunities.

“As Airmen, our nation depends upon us to be ready when the call to action comes,” said Col Kristin Goodwin, 2nd Bomb Wing commander. “Partnerships like this one – that put likeminded warriors together to share ideas and best practices – prepare and strengthen us for that moment.”

Combined, the missileers, aircrew, maintenance and mission support personnel comprise two of the three components that make up what is referred to as the nuclear triad of land-based missiles, submarines, and bomber aircraft.

“The Bomber Missile Exchange Course is a great opportunity to strengthen our understanding of the other’s mission and share innovative ideas between the wings,” said Col Tom Wilcox, 341st Missile Wing commander. “It helps us build Airmen with greater knowledge and increase our understanding of the nuclear triad.”

The formal course is designed to occur within two one week-long phases and involves bomb wing personnel travelling to the missile wing during part one then reciprocating as hosts during week two. By targeting Airmen within the E-7, E-8 and O-2 and O-3 ranks, the goal is to ultimately build a core of mid-level Air Force Global Strike Command leaders with a broad understanding of the nuclear enterprise.

With the first course scheduled to commence in early 2016, Airmen are growing eager to meet and learn from their peers.

“Civil engineers at Barksdale must give the runway a high priority since it directly impacts the mission,” said Capt Robert Hudson, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight Commander. “In contrast, Malmstrom's mission is tied to individual missile silos and they must adjust accordingly to deal with thier unique issues. Seemingly small issues like transportation between jobs become much more difficult to overcome as it takes more time, energy and money. Gaining an understanding and appreciating the differences now will enable me to become a stronger leader in the future with the ability to adapt to any opportunity the future holds.”

Class sizes will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants nominated by their respective wings. While the course is expected to evolve, initially the opportunity will be open to Airmen who work in the operations, maintenance and support career fields.