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Whiteman Airmen ready for first AFGSC Global Strike Challenge

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- A total force team from the 509th and 131st Munitions Squadron were put to the test during a practice competition Monday in preparation for the first Global Strike Challenge later this month.

B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer, and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile units are competing in the first Global Strike Challenge, showcasing the capabilities of the bomber, missile and security forces Airmen entrusted with the most powerful weapons on the earth.

"Global Strike Challenge will help us build pride and a culture of excellence," said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, the Air Force Global Strike Command commander. It is "the beginning of a new tradition-- the best of the past launching us into the future," he said.

The challenge is a re-vamping of two separate competitions called "bomb comp," and "missile comp," where teams from various bases with various missions display the nation's ability to deploy and destroy.

As many as 400 Airmen are sharpening their skills while competing; including Airmen from Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command and the Air Reserve Component.

"As our premier crews train with great intensity for this competition, they are at the same time becoming unrivaled technical and weapons systems experts in their given disciplines," the general said. "The knowledge that each Airman gains while preparing for Global Strike Challenge will raise the bar at his or her unit and base, and ultimately strengthen the Air Force nuclear enterprise for years to come."

As part of the competition, competitors will come to the Shreveport-Bossier City area in November for a strategic deterrence and global strike technology symposium, the security forces portion of the competition and official score-posting ceremonies.

The 509th and 131st Munitions Squadron Airmen geared up to compete, Monday, running through a practice contest.

"This competition allows an opportunity for the Air National Guard and active-duty Airmen to collaborate on a common goal, and allows us to demonstrate how well we all do our jobs," said Tech. Sgt. David Mendenhall, 509th Munitions Squadron assistant NCO in charge of conventional maintenance. "We are all proud of the level of excellence we have achieved prior to, and during this competition."

Sergeant Mendenhall and the MUNS team have their eyes on excellence, and understand the importance of the stewardship over the weapons the President and Combatant Commanders afford them.

"During my 14 years at Whiteman, I have witnessed a team that does well in everything they attempt to accomplish," said the sergeant. "I expect this wing will continue this trend, and dominate in this competition."

The AFRC 131st and the 509th Bomb Wings are competing against the 2nd Bomb Wing and the AFRC 917th Wing at Barksdale AFB, the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas, and the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D.

The missile competition, starting at the end of August, will involve the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB and the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

The security forces competition is scheduled to begin Nov. 13 at Barksdale AFB.

Official score-posting will be at Barksdale AFB Nov. 15 through 18, in conjunction with the Global Strike Challenge technology symposium.