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Lethal competition: ICBM maintenance teams show discipline and readiness

Airman 1st Class Anthony White, left, and Senior Airman Mark McCormick, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron survivable systems team members, perform maintenance on a launch control center blast door Oct. 29, 2019, at a Missile Alert Facility near Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Airman 1st Class Anthony White, left, and Senior Airman Mark McCormick, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron survivable systems team members, perform maintenance on a launch control center blast door Oct. 29, 2019, at a Missile Alert Facility near Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The SST’s primary task is to perform LCC maintenance, including the blast door. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob M. Thompson)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

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

Airmen representing the “best of the best” maintainers in the intercontinental ballistic missile force are getting hyped to find out which ICBM maintenance team will take the top award at the culminating event for the command’s premier 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 key to the ICBM maintenance competition is to test maintenance capability within a strict timeline, which enables Air Force Global Strike Command to produce rapid and lethal force against an enemy,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Jefferson, Global Strike Challenge ICBM maintenance and munitions competition team lead.

Twelve ICBM maintenance teams from across AFGSC competed during the summer in various categories ranging from missile handling to missile electronic systems.

ICBM maintainers are responsible for the maintenance of Minuteman III missiles and equipment for the nuclear launch facilities — everything that will prolong the life of the missile and its critical components.

In addition to their daily jobs, competitors devoted longer hours to prep for the competition.

“The advantage of this competition is not simply in showcasing talent, but demonstrating the discipline and readiness through intense preparation as well as developing best practices,” said Master Sgt. Jonathan Tillery, who served as the deputy team lead for the ICBM maintenance and munitions competition.

Not only does GSC identify areas for standardization or innovation to enhance readiness and efficiency, but the competition enhances esprit de corps and creates a sense of pride in being part of a legacy that is more than 50 years old, according to Tillery.  

“The competition inspires everyone in the community to understand the history and importance of the Minuteman III weapon system,” Tillery said.

Winners will be announced tonight at the Global Strike Challenge scoreposting event here.