Military News

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Security Forces tryouts seeks 'dangerous dozen' to train for Global Strike Challenge

by John Turner
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


8/3/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- For Malmstrom's Defenders, the road to Global Strike Challenge 2015 starts with a three-mile run -- and that's just getting started.

Tryouts for the 341st Missile Wing's Global Strike Challenge security forces team were held July 27-31 at the fitness center. Each day, candidates from the 341st Security Forces Group submitted to almost three grueling hours of push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, calisthenics, sprints and drills.

Of the 16 hopefuls who tried out, 12 will be selected to continue specialized training to hone their combat skills including land navigation, urban operations, weapons employment and close-quarters battle. After six weeks of training and team-building exercises, including two weeks of working on shooting dynamics at Fort Harrison, Montana, the candidates will vote for the six amongst them who will ultimately represent Malmstrom at Global Strike Challenge 2015.

"What's unique about our process for security forces for this competition is we identify people through tryouts," said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Richards, 341st Missile Security Forces Squadron flight leader and head coach for the wing's Global Strike Challenge forces team. "We compete to train and then we compete to be on the final team. At all times, people are vying for a position and they can never rest because at any time you could be overcome by somebody else."

This process gives trainers a true indication of each candidate's personality, motivation and skill level, Richards said. Under his guidance, last year's team brought home the Charlie Fire Team trophy for Best Security Forces Group and the Best Security Forces M4 Shooter award, overall proof that the system works.

The initial tryouts decide more than each candidate's physical stamina. They also reveal how candidates make decisions under stress, show leadership and followership, and accept opinions from other team members regardless of rank.

At one station during tryouts, candidates had to assemble five weapons laid out on a table and rank them in order of effective range. At another station, candidates memorized the contents of a box to recite back later in the day. Interspersed between were tire flips, bear crawls, flutter kicks, burpees and buddy carries.

"The hardest part is we don't have much time to assess people and I can't assess all the things I'm looking for," Richards said. "We do the best we can to see people's attitudes in stressful situations. Obviously their physical training is a point but as soon as we find out they're fit, it's 'you're fit, we get it.'"

There are specific requirements that will influence the composition of the final team. Two members must be Airmen with less than four years of time in service. No more than two members can be drawn from the wing's Tactical Response Force. The team leader must be a technical sergeant or higher, and can be a commissioned officer. Finally, a new requirement this year is at least one team member must be female.

"Other than that it's kind of fair game," Richards said. "Ranks don't really matter; they can be as high a rank as we want or be the brand new guy right off the boat."

Global Strike Challenge is the world's premier bomber, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and security forces competition. Through competition and teamwork, the event looks to foster esprit de corps, recognize outstanding Air Force Global Strike Command 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, culminating in a symposium and score posting event at Barksdale Oct. 20-21.

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