Lethal competition: Security forces defenders push physical, mental limits

  • Published
  • By Capt. Earon Brown
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series covering the competition categories of Global Strike Challenge.

Security forces Defenders from across Air Force Global Strike Command competed during the summer to determine which teams were the “best of the best” during the command’s seventh Global Strike Challenge competition.

Global Strike Challenge is designed to test readiness, lethality and teamwork across a number of different operations, while recognizing superior performers in weapons systems and technical expertise. The wings will find out who the top competitors are at the competition’s culminating event this week.

The security forces competition in particular tested the fortitude of Defenders over three main categories involving weapons, tactics and a mental and physical challenge. 

“A total of 60 competitors consisting of the best of the best from 10 AFGSC security forces units participated in this five-day event hosted at the 90th Ground Combat Training Squadron,” said Master Sgt. Andreas Niemetschek, a Global Strike Challenge team lead for the security forces competition. “This event led to building comradery amongst the career field, during which teams demonstrated superior lethality, while enduring robust physical and mental challenges.”

The firing competition would see Airmen pull together a mix of speed and accuracy to succeed, while team events were composed of challenges like buddy carries and Humvee pushing.

During the close-quarters combat evaluation, Defenders were required to push forward into a structure simulating an active shooter situation with multiple threats and civilians, giving them interactive elements to respond to and threats to take down.

The challenge also included a land navigation portion that took competitors back to basics, having them use a map and compass to complete the drill. Provided with waypoints to plot and follow with their azimuths over difficult Wyoming terrain, the Airmen were forced to consider their pace and accuracy throughout the timed event. 

“What we’re doing is showcasing a lot of security forces capabilities, whether it comes to the close-quarters combat aspect, clearing rooms, responding to fire, reacting to contact, all your deployment capabilities and tactics, as well as land navigation, weapons manipulation and weapons knowledge,” said Staff Sgt. Justin McMahon, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron flight security controller. “It’s definitely important to showcase this because this is something not every base is able to do.”

In the case of AFGSC bases, security forces members find themselves additionally tasked with protecting the nuclear-capable and conventional assets that play a vital role in the command’s ability to project power and hold targets at risk.

“Global Strike has a very unique mission when it comes to this,” McMahon added. “A lot of the time with security forces we have a lot of aspects we cover as far as law enforcement, base security, airfield security and deployment operations. In the global strike world we take all of that and bring it together.”

While putting their skills to the test was the driving factor for coming together, the security forces competition was also a good opportunity for Airmen from different units to cross-talk on what they all bring to supporting the nation’s long-range strike options.

In addition to the knowledge they gleaned from the competition, the Defenders will soon know which of them came out on top for this year’s Global Strike Challenge.