BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Air Force Reserve officers from the 93rd Bomb Squadron and the 307th Operations Support Squadron are scheduled to team up and take part in the world's premier bomber competition, the Air Force Global Strike Challenge 2021.
This bi-annual competition is designed to enhance readiness, lethality, teamwork, mission pride, competitive spirit. Bomber units are evaluated in areas such as mission planning, mission execution and electronic countermeasures.
The 93rd BS is an Air Force Reserve Command unit that provides formal training for B-52 Stratofortress pilots, but they are no strangers to this competition.
They have won in the past and are strong contenders during every Global Strike Challenge.
“As Reservists, we have a lot of experience in this aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Bohl, a B-52 pilot on the 93rd BS team.
Bohl said competing in the GSC is a chance to showcase the brilliance in the basics of what the 93rd BS crewmembers do regularly.
As the sole Formal Training Unit responsible for qualifying all Air Force B-52 aircrew, they are subject matter experts in the fundamentals of the jet. Still, they realize their experience and expertise is most often instructional.
“This is the time of year to prove that I am still as good as I ever was,” said Maj. Austin Fouts, a B-52 pilot on the 93rd BS team. “I can still do the job, don’t put me out to pasture, yet.”
While the team has not been briefed on exactly what to expect during this year’s GSC; in previous challenges, teams were required to place both guided and unguided, inert munitions as close to a designated target as possible.
“In 2019, the electronic warfare portion wasn’t very heavily emphasized from a grading standpoint,” said Maj. Chris Cousler, 93rd BS team’s electronic warfare officer. “Now, it’s more important for me to study and do well.”
This year all bomber teams will utilize the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range for the mission execution portion of the competition.
Bohl and Fouts will work together to maintain overall situational awareness and employ the aircraft in accordance with the competition rules.
“It’s more or less home field for a B-52 crew member at large, everybody has been to Smoky,” said Fouts. “It’s very much a familiar and level playing field.”
The competition showcases Air Force Global Strike Command’s values including: individual responsibility for mission success, self-assessment; adherence to all directives; superior expertise in technical and weapons systems; pride in their heritage and mission; respect of every Airman; and safety in all things large and small.