An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Global Strike Challenge 2014: Meet Malmstrom's MMXS team members

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This is part of a series highlighting the 2014 Global Strike Challenge teams.

Originally established in 1967, the "Curtain Raiser" was the first competition designed to test the skill of intercontinental ballistic missile wings in the U.S. Air Force. Today the event is known as the Global Strike Challenge.

The GSC is the sole ICBM, bomber and security forces competition in the world with units from Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard all vying to be the best.

The goal of the contest is to recognize the hard working and dedicated personnel of AFGSC by showcasing their skills and teamwork through intense training and performance, which allows these Airmen to practice their readiness while providing safe, secure and effective nuclear forces.

In all, more than 450 Airmen will take part in the event at various locations across the nation. Only the best will claim the title of first place in their respective categories and for Malmstrom's 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron, this means winning the coveted Blanchard Trophy, which Malmstrom hasn't secured since 2008.

For Malmstrom, the missile maintenance team will be challenging teams from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming and Minot AFB, North Dakota. The procedure their team will be conducting during the challenge is the removal and replacement of a propulsion system rocket engine, which is a core competency within their career field.

The following are selected to compete in this year's Global Strike Challenge competition for the 341st MMXS.

Master Sgt. Ryan McAffee, 341st MMXS team chief 





Master Sgt. Ryan McAffee, 341st MMXS team chief

An avid outdoorsman, Mcaffee has been stationed at Malmstrom for four years and has been training with his team six days a week in preparation to bring the Blanchard home. He will be the team lead and says he is confident in the skills of his crew and believes they have everything it takes to win.







Senior Airman Shawn Castellanos, 341st MMXS cage man 





Senior Airman Shawn Castellanos, 341st MMXS cage man

Castellanos, "Pistol Pete", is also an avid outdoorsman with a high level of interest in archery, rifle and pistol shooting, hence the nickname. In his words, the thing he has enjoyed the most about the competition so far has been the actual training process.







Senior Airman Samuel Leisy, 341st MMXS boardman






Senior Airman Samuel Leisy, 341st MMXS boardman

Leisy loves fishing and camping; he is also a big fan of riding motorcycles. When asked his thoughts on being selected to participate in the competition, he said it was an honor and a privilege to contribute.






Senior Airman Thomas Dekowski, 341st MMXS topside crewmember




Senior Airman Thomas Dekowski, 341st MMXS topside crewmember

Dekowski is married to his wife Katherine and has a son, Dylan, and a daughter on the way. When asked his thoughts on participating in the competition he said;

"It's an honor to have been selected to represent Team Malmstrom," he said. "As a senior airman, to be given this kind of responsibility is an eye-opening experience and hopefully will prepare me for a long career in the Air Force."





Senior Airman Michael Hubbard, 341st MMXS topside crewmember




Senior Airman Michael Hubbard, 341st MMXS topside crewmember

Hubbard loves outdoor activities and has been working at Malmstrom for more than three and a half years. He would like to thank his section leadership for selecting him to compete in this challenge and looks forward the intense training in preparation for competition.








According to the maintenance team, they are ready for anything. The team has been training for the last 30 days, working 12 to 14 hour days, six days a week. Every detail of what they will be doing in the competition has been practiced, scrutinized and perfected. For them, losing isn't an option.

"I am humbled our leadership has faith in us," Mcaffee said. "Nothing is more important to the mission and the security of the United States than the entire team's proficiency. We are ready and are looking forward to the outcome. We are ready to win."

Information from AFGSC contributed to the completion of this story. For more information on the competition categories, dates and times visit http://www.afgsc.af.mil/library/globalstrikechallenge/globalstrikechallenge2014.asp