Global Strike Challenge load competition kicks off at Minot
by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
4/16/2010 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNS) -- Members of seven bomb wings competed in Air Force Global Strike Command's first-ever load competition April 13 and 14 here.
The evaluation was based on hands-on skills and their knowledge of career fields.
"This brings us back to the old (Strategic Air Command) days and the Giant Sword competitions," said Senior Master Sgt. David Miles, the AFGSC armaments assistant functional manager. "Through this competition, we will bring life back to the career field."
The units being evaluated were the 5th Bomb Wing here, 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas, 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., the Missouri Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing unit and the Air Force Reserve's 917th Wing at Barksdale AFB.
The evaluation team consisted of career-field experts from each of the active-duty bases.
Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, the AFGSC commander, dubbed the competition as the "Global Strike Challenge." The event is now scheduled to be an annual occurrence geared to showcase the new command's capabilities as well as strengthening public support.
"This competition will encourage a culture of excellence and pride, develop elite highly disciplined Airmen, build esprit de corps and recognize the best in the command," General Klotz. "It will not only be the first-ever, we're expecting it to be the largest in a long time."
Since the end of the Cold War and the dismemberment of SAC, there has been no way for today's Airmen to "show off." This is something the Global Strike Challenge facilitates.
"This gives our guys an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a huge audience," said Chief Master Sgt. Dan North, the5th Maintenance Group superintendent. "Our guys perform their mission flawlessly, even at (temperatures) 40 degrees below zero. The nature of their job can make it pretty thankless at times, but this gives them the recognition they deserve."
The chief said this is just one leg of an ongoing competition. During this leg, the focus is on the bomber maintenance mission. Other categories scheduled through the fall include bomber operations, security forces, missile operations and missile maintenance.
The competition features a two-fold charge assessing both the conventional and nuclear capabilities of each wing. But just like in any competition, there is contest among the best teams in each wing. The best teams in each wing will compete for bragging rights among the rest of the players.
"These teams are selected by squadron and group leadership," Chief North said. "They are selected for sustained excellence in duty performance over time."
"They are the rock stars from each of the career fields," said Master Sgt. C.J. Gillard, the AFGSC B-52 Stratofortress armaments manager. "The teams include crew chiefs, weapons loaders, munitions handlers and various other support agencies, such as (Aerospace Ground Equipment)."
The original "Bomb Comp" was created in 1948 by SAC officials to motivate crews and improve bombing accuracy.
"This is just another step along a very methodical approach to (strengthening) the Air Force's nuclear enterprise," General Klotz said.
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