News>Global Strike Challenge: Third time's a charm
Staff Sgt. Daniel Santell poses with (from left) Tech. Sgt. Ryan Asaria, Senior Airman Matthew Wallace, Airman 1st Class Carl Scholl and Senior Airman Kayla Hopkins on the flightline at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Aug. 14. Santell is a veteran Global Strike Challenge competitor and is helping coach Asaria, team lead for the nuclear/conventional load crew, and his team members for this year's annual Air Force Global Strike Command challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amber Ashcraft)(RELEASED)
(From left) Staff Sgt. Jason Edwards and Staff Sgt. Matthew Dennis pose with Senior Airman James Lawson and Tech. Sgt. Michael Bayne on the flightline at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Aug. 14. Edwards and Dennis are veteran Global Strike Challenge crew chiefs and are helping coach Lawson and Bayne for this year's annual Air Force Global Strike Command challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amber Ashcraft)(RELEASED)
Members from the 2nd Munitions Squadron strap down weapons on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Aug. 14. The 11-man ammo team is training for the upcoming annual Global Strike Challenge, hosted by Air Force Global Strike Command. Barksdale has several teams that will compete to be the best-of-the-best out of the command's operations, maintenance and security forces Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amber Ashcraft)(RELEASED)
Members from the 2nd Munitions Squadron set-up a load dock to move weapons on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Aug. 14. The 11-man ammo team is training for the upcoming annual Global Strike Challenge, hosted by Air Force Global Strike Command. Barksdale has several teams that will compete to be the best-of-the-best out of the command's operations, maintenance and security forces Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amber Ashcraft)(RELEASED)
Members from the 2nd Maintenance Squadron review pre-flight checklists on the flightline at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Aug. 14. Barksdale is training for the annual Global Strike Challenge, hosted by Air Force Global Strike Command. Four Airmen will compete as the nuclear/conventional load crew and two will be the dedicated crew chiefs for the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amber Ashcraft)(RELEASED)
by Staff Sgt. Amber Ashcraft
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
8/22/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- "Offense is the essence of air power," said the late Air Force General Henry "Hap" Arnold.
To showcase the Air Force's "air power," Air Force Global Strike Command holds the annual Global Strike Challenge. Teams from operations, maintenance and security forces squadrons at bomber and missile wings compete in GSC to be named the best-of-the-best.
This year marks the third annual challenge and AFGSC Airmen have kicked preparations into high gear.
"Since June, we have been assembling teams and working out the kinks," said 1st Lt. Ryan Morris, 2nd Maintenance Squadron flight commander. "By July, we were in full-fledged training, hitting the books and outside performing like we were in the competition. As the 2nd Bomb Wing is the only combat wing in the Air Force that does not have an indoor weapons load training facility, all our load training is done outside in the elements."
The competition begins with the maintenance portion, which will display Barksdale's best crew chiefs, weapons loaders and munitions builders.
"With assistance from squadron leadership and flight chiefs, we choose members who have outperformed others to represent us in the challenge," said Morris. "This year will be a bit different with our load crew, since all four members will be participating in both the nuclear and conventional load challenge. Also, we're utilizing team members from last year as coaches for this year's challenge; it's a family fight."
Despite the high temperatures, the 17 Airmen participating in the challenge and their coaches have been training non-stop the last few weeks.
"Crew chiefs are the hardest to train because what they do is vague in a sense," said Morris. "For performing pre-flight, something they do every day, evaluators will be walking with them as they explain how they would do their checklists. The evaluators can ask any type of off-the-wall question, such as 'what regulation is that found in' and 'if this happens, what do you do with that'. It's not as straight-forward, it's more knowledge based. That's the scary part for me; how do I prepare them to make sure they're ready to meet those test questions that may come from anywhere?"
Though all teams competing perform knowledge-based tests, loaders and munitions Airmen have more standard, specific guidelines and checklists they must use.
"It's obviously very complicated and difficult, but it's more straight forward," said Tech. Sgt. Frederic Currie, 2 MXS and team lead for the ammo crew. "Working on different airframes makes it somewhat difficult to evaluate, but the loaders all do similar tasks to meet their checklists and guidelines. Timing isn't necessarily a criteria because it's more how well the checklists are followed. You'll lose points if there are any discrepancies, so our loaders and ammo guys still need to be on target and thorough."
Winning trophies at the GSC symposium allows Airmen to claim the title of "best of the best" in the Air Force bomber community. To do this, the 2 BW maintenance teams will be performing the competition with two historical B-52H Stratofortress bombers.
"They're the two oldest actively flying bombers in the Air Force," said Morris. "It's exciting to know we'll able to bring the bomb wing's history into our competition. Maybe they'll be our luck factor to win the overall Global Strike Challenge, since the third time's a charm."
Last year, the maintenance community took home the best in conventional load, nuclear load and the best in ammo.
"The other bases are definitely gunning for us, since even the Ellis Giant Sword, awarded to the best bomber maintenance group, is still in our possession," said Morris. "It's definitely a motivation factor, since our crew chiefs are also stepping up their game after falling short last year; the pressure is high for all of us, but we're looking to take it all home."
The Barksdale Maintenance teams competing for the third annual Global Strike Challenge are:
Nuclear/Conventional Load Crew: Tech. Sgt. Ryan Asaria (team lead)
Senior Airman Matthew Wallace
Senior Airman Kayla Hopkins
Airman 1st Class Carl Scholl
Crew Chiefs: Tech. Sgt. Michael Bayne
Senior Airman James Lawson
Ammo Crew: Tech. Sgt. Frederic Currie
Staff Sgt. Russell Fenimore
Staff Sgt. Jason Nelson
Senior Airman David Andrews
Senior Airman Harry Smith
Senior Airman Corey Rodriguez
Airman 1st Class Brittnay Livingston
Airman 1st Class Brandon Honeywell
Airman 1st Class Casey Glosup
Airman 1st Class Nicholas Valdez
Airman 1st Class Gable Palmer