460th competes in Panther Challenge
By Airman Emily E. Amyotte, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 22, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Members of the 460th Space Wing joined together in August to participate in the 460th SW Panther Challenge on base.
The challenge was held Aug. 4 - 13 and included the 2nd and 8th Space Warning Squadrons, 460th Security Forces Squadron, and 460th Medical Group.
The Panther Challenge was developed to provide members of Team Buckley an opportunity to improve their skills and expand their job knowledge in a competitive setting.
"With our important mission for the nation, it is essential that our ops crews and those that support them have the highest level of proficiency," said Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Philip Bischoff, 460th Operations Support Squadron chief of operations training. "Friendly competition is one of the best ways to encourage these crews to become the best."
The first half of the challenge was in the OG training room where six teams from the 2nd SWS and 8th SWS went head-to-head. The teams were given a mobile missile warning exercise scenario where they had to process the incoming information rapidly while a group of evaluators watched and graded their work. Essentially, the teams monitored their missile warning systems and responded to simulated missile strikes around the world.
Bischoff said that communication is a huge aspect of the Panther Challenge, as well as any real-world event to which the OG and Team Buckley would respond.
"In any crisis situation, communication is often the first thing that is dropped," Bischoff said. "If communications don't flow smoothly, then it is almost impossible to effectively perform operations."
The process of creating the Panther Challenge was an undertaking that required a great deal of time and coordination amongst different squadrons and individuals. This year was the first time that the security forces and the medical teams were involved in the Panther Challenge.
While the teams were busy responding to simulated missiles, there was a knock on the door from a security forces member who rushed the teams out the door, into vans and off to a second training area. It was then the SFS and the MDG's turn to begin their training.
All participants donned protective helmets, neck guards and gloves while being told they were now part of a field training exercise. The SFS then had to secure the building from the opposing force while also protecting the other Airmen from open fire.
On the last day of the challenge, the MDG was also involved. Their task was to respond to all of the different simulated injuries that ensued during the exercise.
Participants from all sides of the exercise agreed that the Panther Challenge was an exciting and vital training experience.
"The Panther Challenge is an excellent opportunity to test the knowledge and ability of our space operators and crews when placed in high pressure scenarios," said Senior Airman Amber Powell, 460th OSS mission crew chief instructor. "It provides them with a unique chance to highlight their capacity to think on their feet and enhances their skill set should an event like this ever occur in the real world."
The winning team of the Panther Challenge was announced during FunFest Aug. 22.