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Striker Stripe develops nuclear deterrence leaders

  • Published
  • By Joe Thomas
  • Air Force Global Strike Public Affairs
6/9/2016 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Air Force Global Strike Command noncommissioned officers met here June 6 – 9 to participate in Striker Stripe, a highly-selective leadership seminar with a focus on nuclear deterrence.

“These (NCOs) are high performers who were hand selected by their wing commanders and command chiefs,” Chief Master Sgt. Calvin Williams, AFGSC command chief, said. “This is an opportunity for us to develop Striker Airmen who will go back to their home units and mentor our future leaders. This is also an opportunity for us to give them a strategic view of the command so they can see their role in the bigger picture.”

Striker Stripe stresses the importance of tactical-level leadership and how the quality of that leadership affects the nation’s overall ability to deter large-scale aggression. AFGSC’s pool of mid-tier NCOs represent the full-spectrum of the global-strike mission – from ICBM maintainers to bomber crew chiefs and security forces to name a few. Some students also come from reserve components and Air National Guard units. Regardless of wing or component, presenters stressed the importance Global Strike Airmen play in the overall command structure and why their development is crucial to national security. 

“This is great for me because Airmen are a personal passion,” Staff Sgt. Janay Stokes, a student from the 28th Bomb Wing, said. “So far we’ve learned about ethical leadership and what it means to be open with our Airmen. We can take what we learned here and go back to our home units and let our Airmen know that we’re listening.”

Retired Chief MSgt. Brian S. Hornback, who served as the AFGSC command chief from 2011-2014, served as a class mentor for this year’s iteration of Striker Stripe. He provided guidance and input regarding different leadership and command topics.

“We started this course several years ago out of a need for a command-level leadership course,” Hornback said. “We needed NCO leaders who also had a significant and deep understanding of the nuclear deterrence mission.”

Senior NCOs, subject matter experts and other presenters emphasized what it means to be an NCO within AFGSC. Overall, the course stressed the importance of being professional and open with junior Airmen, which goes a long way in fostering trust and camaraderie within the command, according to Tech. Sgt. Collin Sheehan, a student from the 341st Security Forces Squadron.

“This has really raised my morale and motivation,” Sheehan said. “This gives us a lot to take back to our Airmen and the tools we need to teach them the right way.”

AFGSC holds Striker Stripe annually and chief’s vision is to develop inspirational role-models our Airmen can look up to as they become the next generation of NCOs for Air Force Global Strike Command.