MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- 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.
This year, teams from Malmstrom Air Force Base's 10th, 12th and 490th Missile Squadrons will be representing Wing One during the challenge. During the competition, the competitors will be performing various protocol checks, procedure checks and full-blown simulated scenarios that could take place in the real world.
While these teams have been practicing the skills they will be using in the competition for their entire careers, for the past couple weeks it has been a relentless battle to execute every task perfectly and in record time.
Nothing will hold these Airmen back from giving everything they have to win. Teamwork has been a critical component to their strategy and every day operations. They have trained for countless hours and are ready to show AFGSC how missileers get things done.
The following teams have been selected to represent Wing One in the 2014 Global Strike Challenge.
From the 10th Missile Squadron
Capt. Katie Grimley, 10th MS combat missile crew commander
Grimley has been in the Air Force for more than four years and has been accomplishing her duties as a missileer for the past three years. She has pulled 125 alerts since being stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
2nd Lt. Michael McCrary, 10th MS deputy missile combat crew commander
McCrary has been in the Air Force nearly a year and has been part of Wing One since May of 2014. He has pulled six alerts since joining the team and is ready to accomplish many more.
From the 12th Missile Squadron
Capt. Dan Hejde, 12th MS combat missile crew commander
Hejde has been in the Air Force for more than five years and has been working as a missileer at Malmstrom AFB for the past four years. His alert count is 186. Previously, Hejde has helped Wing One bring home the McMahon and Klotz trophies in previous competitions as a trainer and alternate team member.
1st Lt. Jeff Cumber, 12th MS deputy missile combat crew commander
Cumber has been in the Air Force for more than three years and has been accomplishing his missileer duties at Malmstrom AFB for the past two years. He has pulled 100 alerts.
From the 490th Missile Squadron
1st Lt. Stephanie Guenther, 490th MS combat missile crew commander
Guenther has been in the Air Force for the past four years. Three of those years have been spent as a Wing One team member accomplishing her duties as a missileer. Her alert count is at 156.
2nd Lt. Joseph Whelan, 490th MS deputy missile combat crew commander
Whelan has been in the Air Force for more than two years and has been a part of Wing One for more than a year. His has currently pulled 69 alerts in support of the mission at Malmstrom AFB.
All three teams have put their heart and soul into the preparation required to excel during the challenge. Every day has provided an opportunity for them to learn something new and to hone their skills.
Proficiency and precision are instrumental to coming home with the coveted first-place title and trophy that goes along with it.
"We do a lot of training, said 1st Lt. Stephanie Guenther, 490th MS combat missile crew commander. "I believe that through our training we are able to see our peers (proficiency) and help each other through different situations.
"I'm excited to be selected to represent Malmstrom in the competition," she continued. "It's an awesome opportunity to expand our missile knowledge. With this competition, we are provided the time and capability to dive deep into our procedures and get that knowledge that will make us better operators and instructors."
The day to prove themselves is right around the corner. Only time will tell the outcome, but they believe they are ready for anything and are preparing to bring home first place for Wing One.