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Whiteman Strikers look to bring home the gold

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

While Team Whiteman awaits the results of the 2021 Global Strike Challenge competition, many look back on lessons learned over the summer.  

The GSC occurs every other year and features the world's premier bomber and ICBM operators and maintainers, helicopter operations and security forces units from Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard competing against one another.

“This year’s theme is ‘Strikers are One … Resilient, Credible, Lethal Team.’ This stresses that Global Strike Airmen are a team of teams, and that we’re all hopelessly dependent on one another in order to achieve strategic success,” said Lt. Col. Robert Fore, AFGSC lead GSC coordinator.

According to Fore, this year’s competition was ramped up, to encourage Airmen to use modern tools, technology and tactics. Over the course of the competition, teams have proven how resilient they are by overcoming many challenges in innovative ways.

Here at Whiteman Air Force Base, the 393rd Bomb Squadron met the challenge head-on.

“The GSC was a good event that challenged aircrews to think of creative solutions to various targets and goals,” said Capt. Mathew Barbazon, 393rd BS pilot and GSC operations team lead. “During the competition our team carried out the planning and bombing execution portion of the challenge. Being able to work with other organizations outside of our squadron was fun and provided a good learning experience.”

With approximately 450 competitors from 13 units, the competition is designed to enhance readiness, lethality, teamwork, mission pride, competitive spirit and recognize the “best of the best” in weapons systems and technical expertise.

While all participants take pride in representing their units, some looked forward to showcasing what they can do to represent their squadron.

Team Whiteman’s Defender team, competed against other Strikers in land navigation, small unit tactics, and weapons employment at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming.

“It was an amazing challenge to showcase some of our more physically demanding skill sets that Defenders perform,” said Tech. Sgt. Travis Lage, 509th Security Forces Squadron police services and GSC security forces team lead. “Our team members loved the opportunity to get out in the field and demonstrate the capabilities they developed in technical school and specialized training like Combat Leaders Course, Ranger Assessment Course, Special Reaction Team, heavy weapons firing, and different SWAT schools.”

The competition also provided an opportunity for Airmen to develop professionally in their career field.

“Each member had opportunities to step up into leadership roles.  We had junior enlisted Airmen leading combat patrols and missions, giving After Action Reports and lessons learned,” added Lage. “We also came away with improved tactics, as well as equipment upgrade and functionality ideas.  During the competition, our team gained a lot of pride in not only our career field, but our heritage as well.”

Connecting heritage and mission, the GSC traces its roots to the Strategic Air Command’s bomber, weapons loading, and missile competitions. However, it is unique when compared to SAC’s competitions because it includes operations, maintenance, and security forces participants from the missile and bomber communities, launching a new tradition that celebrates the past.

Global Strike Challenge concludes Dec. 8 with the score posting and trophy presentations at Hoban Hall on Barksdale AFB.