Perfection is the standard: Team Whiteman participates in Global Thunder '09

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Members of Team Whiteman recently participated in a U.S. Strategic Command exercise known as Global Thunder. 

From June 24 through 30, the 509th Bomb Wing provided key strategic bombing capabilities during the exercise. 

Global Thunder '09 is the USSTRATCOM Field Training Exercise and Battle Staff Exercise designed to exercise all mission areas. It provided training opportunities for component, task force, unit, forces and command posts to deter, and if necessary defeat, a military attack against the United States and to employ forces as directed by the President. Planning for Global Thunder '09 was underway for more than a year. 

Global Thunder included a wide range of forces working together incorporating the latest technology and techniques in support of each other to complete the mission. 

"Global Thunder allowed our Airmen to experience a real-world operation that tied them to the mission," said 1st. Lt. Ross Agee, 509th Munitions Squadron strategic weapons flight commander. "They went from day-to-day maintenance to being a vital piece in the sortie generation puzzle." 

Several base agencies, from operations to maintenance to support, participated in the exercise that provided training opportunities for USSTRATCOM joint enablers. 

"Operations and maintenance may be considered the meat and potatoes of the overall mission," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Jackson, 509th Force Support Squadron. "But every section on base brings something to the table. This exercise showed just that. 

"Just one of the 509th FSS missions is managing the processing line and providing meals for individuals in the line," he said. "This exercise allowed us to ensure our systems work as advertised and tweak any bugs in the process." 

"(Global Thunder) provided us an insight into Whiteman's global strategic bomber mission," said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Schneider, 509th MUNS production flight chief. "We were provided with a realistic generation environment. 

Generation refers to preparing aircraft for a sortie, or flight.

"Many of our Airmen are new to the base and GT '09 provided an opportunity for them to understand the specialized mission training they receive," he said "This is not an everyday mission scenario. Now our Airmen better understand what to expect and how to prepare when an emergency order is received." 

Global Thunder is not a "textbook" exercise, said Master Sgt. Steven Binder, 509th Maintenance Operations Squadron. GT '09 required Team Whiteman to adapt to a different generation flow and provided many training opportunities for potential real-world events. 

"This exercise was an overall success," Sergeant Schneider said. "We proved that we can safely meet our mission objectives well within established time frames." 

"Practice always improves the unit functions," Lieutenant Ross said. "With that being said, our Airmen do this every day, and at Whiteman perfection is the standard."