Malmstrom celebrates Global Strike Challenge wins
The 2017 Global Strike Challenge team returned to Malmstrom Air Force Base on Thursday to thundering applause with a lot of hardware in tow.
The big win was the Blanchard Trophy, for best missile wing, and it was another back to back win for Malmstrom. They brought home the trophy in 2015 and this year marked the 12th Blanchard win for Wing One.
“Every single point matters” Col. Ron Allen, Malmstrom commander, said of the competition.
The Global Strike Challenge team members are selected through a rigorous process and Allen said they send their very best to compete.
But the rest of the wing plays a part in picking up slack for the team members who had to devote extra time to training, preparing and competing.
“Each and every one of you had something to do with it,” Allen said.
1st Lt. Hunter Parisian and 1st Lt. James Kegyes of the 12th Missile Squadron won the Neary Trophy for best emergency war orders.
Parisian competed in 2015 and said it was such a great experience that it was a “no brainer” to tryout for the team this year.
Preparation was time-consuming and he said they did a year’s worth of training in a month.
Parisian said his friend won the Neary Trophy in 2015 GSC and he was “ecstatic to share the same trophy with him.”
It was the first GSC competition for Kegyes and he said he values the Neary most of their wins this year.
“That’s our job,” he said. “To be able to take care of business.”
A big part of the competition is crosstalk among units and improving processes and tactics.
“We perfect the techniques and then we’re able to bring them back and enhance the overall crew,” Parisian said. “We are able to learn and develop new ideas and bring those back to the unit.”
Even on a Cold War era system, Parisian said, “we’re still finding new ways to do things.”
They did their competition piece in June and the Minot and F.E. Warren teams did theirs in the spring. The missile crew competitions had to be staggered around code changes at the missile wings, Parisian said.
Malmstrom was the first duty station for both missile officers. Parisian has been here for three years and is now headed to F.E. Warren to be an instructor. Kegyes has been here for a year and a half.
Of the five maintenance categories in the competition, Malmstrom teams won two. The others were split among the other two missile wings.
“Knowing they’re the best, it means a lot to the entire team,” said Col. Dave Miller, 341st Maintenance Group commander. He’s been at Malmstrom for a few months in his new job, but this is his second time assigned to Malmstrom.
Miller said one of the highlights of the uniqueness of Wing One is the camaraderie. It’s one solid team and it’s good to see that teamwork, he said.
Part of the competition is finding ways to improve and he said the GSC officials ask teams to think about how to do things better, and find ways to make it happen, Miller said.
For Master Sgt. Anthony Richards and Staff Sgt. William Lamb of the 341st Security Forces Group, the third time was the charm.
Richards, Lamb and Staff Sgt. Bradley Akers have competed in three consecutive challenges.
“It was a very seasoned team,” Richards said, though the other three team members were first time competitors.
Lamb won as best shooter on M9 and the team won the Charlie Fire Team Trophy, which is awarded to the Security Forces team compiling the highest competition score.
They pull from different components of the security forces group to build their team because “there’s so much talent out there,” Richards said. They work together and “emerge as a superior team he said.
For Lamb and Richards, this was their swan song and they’re going out on a high note.
“This is our last time,” Lamb said of the repeat competitors on the team. “We’ve proven so many times that we’re the best.”