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Air Force Secretary joins hundreds of airmen for competition at Barksdale Air Force Base

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Senior Airman Benjamin Gonsier
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U.S. Air Force photo

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presented the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Serve Medal to 25 airmen at Barksdale Air Force Base Wednesday as part of the closing ceremony of Air Force Global Strike Command’s fourth Global Strike Challenge.

More than 350 airmen competed in categories such as ballistic missile operations, helicopter maneuvers and security force procedures.

Global Strike Command’s public affairs office estimates 800 people came to the Louisiana base to be a part of the two-day event. Host Barksdale and seven other bases participated in the competition. It included a technology and innovation symposium at Bossier Civic Center.

U.S. Strategic Command vice-chief Lt. General James Kowalski delivered a speech on military deterrents and why innovation matters. He said you can’t innovate from the top.

“Some doubt that innovation can exist in a culture that requires strict procedural discipline. I think they’re wrong. Innovation is in the heritage of our Air Force, and particularly in the bloodline of Air Force Global Strike Command,” Kowalski said, one in a line of speeches from top military brass.

Kowalski went on to say that the Air Force is in constant flux, and that makes the work of airmen more difficult.

“We’ve been doing bomber and ICBM operations since the 1960s, and we are never going to get it perfect. I suspect tonight’s scores are going to demonstrate that,” Kowalski said.

Bomber competitions began in 1948 when Strategic Air Command announced a competition to focus attention to improve bombing accuracy and aircrew proficiency, according to the Air Force. It marked the first time the Secretary of the Air Force took part in the Global Strike Challenge. 

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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