Military News

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Malmstrom's ICBM Operations team targets big win in Global Strike Challenge

by By John Turner
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


8/19/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Three missile combat crews who will represent the 341st Missile Wing at Air Force Global Strike Command's Global Strike Challenge 2015 are deep in training this month, honing their skills for the ICBM Operations competition.

The six crew members were selected from the 341st Operations Group's three tactical missile squadrons through written tests of procedural knowledge. Each two-person missile crew is now in intensive training to harmonize interpersonal efficiency and broaden their knowledge of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system.

The missile combat crews are from the wing's 10th, 12th and 490th Missile Squadrons and will compete Aug. 31 in the missile procedures trainer at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. Their scores will be compared to those of similar crews competing at Minot AFB, North Dakota, and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, and will be revealed in October.

The ICBM competition is approximately two hours duration for each crew and consists of various stimuli including Emergency War Order actions, simulated emergencies, maintenance actions, and security situations that require crew members to respond according to tech data and knowledge. Crews must prioritize events presented simultaneously. The final score for each wing is calculated by adding the individual scores earned by their three competing crews.

And now let's meet Team Malmstrom's GSC 2015 ICBM Operations team:

1st Lt. Ian Sylvester, 10th MS crew commander, enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his wife and his growing family. He has previous GSC experience, and describes the team's preparation for this year's event as "training every single day" and "digging through all our documents, really trying to get into the fine details."

"Competing is an outstanding opportunity," Sylvester said. "I'm really looking forward to developing more as an individual in this competition and increase my knowledge, and then give that back to the crew force here at Malmstrom."

2nd Lt. Michael McCrary, 10th MS deputy crew commander, has been at Malmstrom for a little over a year and already has approximately 70 alerts and last year's GSC competition under his belt.

"It feels great to do it a second time," McCrary said. "Last year I had a blast learning about the weapons system. This time around I have a lot more experience so we have a much better chance of bringing home some trophies."

McCrary enjoys mountain biking and snowboarding in the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

1st Lt. Robert 'Bob' Schell, 12th MS crew commander, has been a crew member at Malmstrom for over two years and has completed 180 alerts here. He is currently a squadron instructor, a role he's been in for about three months.

"We have a strong team," Schell said. "I think we have a good chance."

While this is Schell's first GSC, the daily operations of the wing, especially alerts at Missile Alert Facility I-01, have helped him prepare. And, he believes his prior experience with a similar competition may help his crew.

Schell likes skiing and snowboarding, video games and "some yard work now that I have a lawn."

2nd Lt. Hunter Parisian, 12th MS deputy crew commander, has been at Malmstrom--his first choice for an assignment--for less than a year. He has completed almost 50 alerts and is still gaining a lot of experience, he said.

Parisian said the team trains several hours every day this month for GSC.

"I think Global Strike Challenge is definitely a lot of work to put in for the month but hopefully after the competition we'll all feel pretty good about ourselves," he said. "Hopefully we have a great sense of accomplishment."

Parisian enjoys riding his motorcycle, hunting and snowboarding.

1st Lt. Joseph 'Joey' Whelan, 490th MS crew commander, was on last year's GSC team as a deputy crew commander. He performed well, trailing first place by one point, and he sees this as his redemption year to win a trophy. He is doing a lot of studying to prepare for the competition, he said.

"Everybody knows how to do the job but it's a matter of doing it very efficiently and very quickly, and getting through stuff a lot faster than crews are normally going to get to it," Whelan said.

He describes the competition as exciting and fun.

Whelan enjoys sports including basketball, football and skiing. He has been in the Air Force three years.

2nd Lt. Angelica 'Ange' Phillips, 490th deputy crew commander, graduated from the Air Force Academy last year and arrived in Montana in February. She enjoys running and has a dog and a motorcycle. She has completed 16 alerts so far.

"It's a fairly awesome experience, just being so new to Malmstrom and the missile career field, to be able to do Global Strike Challenge within my first year," Phillips said. "I'm learning quite a bit."

1st Lt. Emily Barielle, 10th MS, and 1st Lt. Aurea Pomales-Martinez, 490th MS, are the team's instructors as well as Malmstrom's alternate crew.

Global Strike Challenge is the world's premier bomber, intercontinental ballistic missile and security forces competition. Through competition and teamwork at various locations throughout the country, the event looks to foster esprit de corps, recognize outstanding AFGSC personnel and teams and improve combat capabilities. More than 450 Airmen from across AFGSC, as well as the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command, Air Force Materiel Command and Air Combat Command will take part in Global Strike Challenge competitions at various locations throughout the country.

The wing's Global Strike Challenge 2015 kickoff activities will be Aug. 28 at the Grizzly Bend.

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