343rd Bomb Squadron is spot on
307th Bomb Squadron
/ Published November 20, 2017
BARKSDALE AIR fORCE BASE, La. -- The 343rd Bomb Squadron received the Mitchell Award during the Global Strike Competition score posting ceremony held at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Nov. 17.
In competing for the Mitchell Award, bomber air crews from throughout the Air Force are given three opportunities to place a single unguided munition as close as possible to a given target.
The 343rd recorded a score of zero feet from the target, meaning it placed its bomb exactly from the spot the point of impact was measured.
“We have had some in past competitions come as close as 14 feet, but I cannot remember ever seeing a zero score,” said Capt. Timothy Humpal, 343rd BS weapons system officer.
Maj. Nathan Barnhart, 343rd BS weapon systems officer, was part of the air crew that made the winning shot.
“We saw it go through and knew it was a good drop, so we replayed the video and realized it was really on the money,” he said.
Barnhart believes that experience and trust played a big role in the air crew’s success.
“Most of us have been deployed together in combat situations, so you have that intrinsic trust that everyone on the team is doing their job well,” he said. “We fly together all the time and that experience and trust makes it much easier to concentrate on the objective.”
Other factors besides experience and skill can ultimately have an impact on the success of placing an unguided munition, said Humpal.
“Any environmental factor can change the course of an unguided munition,” he said. “It’s like the hole-in-one in golf, in that you put all your skill to work and hope for some luck.”
Global Strike Challenge is the world's premier Bomber, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, Helicopter Operations and Security Forces competition with units from Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard.