Ellsworth weapons load team contributes to title of best bomber maintenance team at Global Strike Challenge 2023

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittany Kenney
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 28th Maintenance Group at Ellsworth Air Force Base contributed to Ellsworth earning the title of best bomber maintenance team during the Global Strike Challenge 2023 capstone event held at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Nov. 8, 2023.

This title was acknowledged with the Ellis Giant Sword trophy, an achievement that required a culmination of efforts in the maintainer portion of the GSC, of which a weapons load team from the 28th MXG were a part.

The GSC is the world’s premier bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile operations and maintenance, helicopter operations and security forces competition with units from the Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard participating.

Maintainers assigned to the 34th and 37th Aircraft Maintenance Units comprised the four-man team that competed and won best conventional weapons load team against nine other wings within the AFGSC along with units from the ACC, AFRC and the ANG.

“Competitions like this help gauge mission capability and adaptability in respective categories,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Wagner, 37th AMU weapons load crew team chief. “The checklist of tasks were things we’ve already been training for.”

Four competition evaluators came to Ellsworth in late August to administer a written knowledge test, observe safe and reliable weapon loading practices, and assess how fast the team could respond to putting on Mission Oriented Protective Posture – or MOPP gear – level 0 through 4.

“It was a very exciting win,” said Senior Airman Alexander McEntire, 34th AMU weapons load crew member. “Sometimes we find out who won a competition early, but for this one it was kept under wraps until the awards ceremony. It instilled a lot of pride to see Ellsworth win in so many categories.”

Along with being named the best conventional weapons load team and receiving the Ellis Giant Sword trophy, Ellsworth claimed the best conventional munitions maintenance team title, the Mitchell Trophy for most accurate munitions drop, and the Fairchild Trophy for overall best bomb wing.

Wagner said they plan to use lessons learned from the competition going forward as a teaching point for maintainers coming to Ellsworth.

“The next competition is in two years,” said Wagner. “This gives us time to work with the next generation and train them for it. But at the end of the day, the mission comes first. If we are prepared for the mission, we are prepared for the competition.”