News>Global Strike Challenge 2012: Meet the 40th Helicopter Squadron team members
Tech. Sgt. David Galasso, 40th Helicopter Squadron UH-1N flight engineer, checks the functionality of a helicopter’s propeller. Galasso is the flight engineer of the three-man aircrew chosen to represent the 40th HS in the 2012 Global Strike Challenge at Camp Guernsey, Wyo., Oct. 3 to 6. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
Capt. Stephen Struber, 40th HS tactics officer and UH-1N pilot, performs a routine preflight inspection on a UH-1N Huey helicopter. Struber was one of three 40th HS members chosen to represent Malmstrom at the 2012 Global Strike Challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
Tope and Galasso review a checklist during a training sortie June 8. The aircrew was preparing for the upcoming Global Strike Challenge competition at Camp Guernsey, Wyo., scheduled for Oct. 3 to 6. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
Tope and Struber strap themselves into a helicopter during a preflight inspection. The success of this aircrew in the Global Strike Challenge relies heavily on how well they work together. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
After strapping herself into a UH-1N Huey helicopter copilot seat during a preflight inspection, Capt. Cindy Tope, 40th HS UH-1N pilot and scheduler, listens for further instruction. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
by Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
9/21/2012 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Editor's Note: This is part four in a four-part series highlighting Malmstrom's 2012 Global Strike Challenge teams.
Three 40th Helicopter Squadron members from Malmstrom Air Force Base are preparing to compete against Airmen from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and Minot AFB, N.D., in the third-ever Global Strike Challenge.
Established in 1967, the "Curtain Raiser" was the first competition made for ICBM wings in the United States Air Force. Now, 45 years later, the competition is called the Global Strike Challenge and incorporates missile, helicopter and bomber crews, maintainers from ICBM and bomber disciplines, and security forces. Helicopter crews were added to the GSC in 2011.
While recruited members from the 341st Maintenance Group and 341st Operations Group have already competed, members from the 341st Security Forces Group are gearing up to partake in the 2012 Global Strike Challenge next week.
The last phase of the GSC is set to kick off Oct. 3 with members of Air Force Global Strike Command's helicopter squadrons competing at Camp Guernsey, Wyo., all in hopes of bringing home the coveted Blanchard Trophy at the score posting at Barksdale AFB, La., in November.
The aircrew members chosen to represent Malmstrom's 40th Helicopter Squadron are Capt. Stephen Struber, tactics officer and UH-1N pilot; Capt. Cindy Tope, UH-1N pilot and scheduler; and Tech. Sgt. David Galasso, UH-1N flight engineer.
For all three members, this is their first time being part of the challenge. But Galasso, an Atlanta native, remains humble about the selection.
"This is my first time being part of the challenge and I think all of Malmstrom's flight engineers do a great job," Galsasso said. "They're very professional and have high standards. I think I was next in line."
For Tope, an Air Force Academy graduate and copilot in the challenge, she says finding time for all three members to not only train, but ride on the same flight can be a challenge. Typical aircrew training for the GSC includes reviewing security knowledge, flying tactical routes and time-on-target and completing a tactical landing in a set time limit.
"A big part of the training is how well an aircrew works together," Tope said. "I think we will work well as a team and complement each other. As an individual, I am brushing up on book knowledge. As a team, we will have a few flights as a crew to solidify our communication and team dynamic. It will help us identify each other's strengths and weaknesses so we can anticipate how we will best work together during the competition. The one thing I look forward to the most is the chance to fly in a new environment and test ourselves against other bases."
Although scoring high in the competition and bringing home awards is an objective, all three members are eager to showcase their methods and learn how other Global Strike Command squadrons accomplish missions.
"I am very excited to be part of the Global Strike Challenge," Galasso said. "I look forward to competing with other units and seeing how they do things so we can showcase our abilities and do the best we can."
A Team Malmstrom member for more than nine years, Struber also looks forward to working with other helicopter squadrons.
"I think Global Strike Command has some of the best pilots in the Air Force and I feel honored to represent the 40th Helicopter Squadron," Struber said. "I look forward to integrating with some of our sister squadrons, learning some of their techniques and using my techniques to blow theirs out of the water."