Fostering the future for Task Force 214

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Bjorkquist, TF 214 maintenance advisor. (Courtesy photo)

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Bjorkquist, TF 214 maintenance advisor. (Courtesy photo)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Twentieth Air Force and Task Force 214 tend to be mentioned together, as in many ways they are two sides of the same coin. However, there are distinctions. To ensure both missions are accomplished to the level of excellence expected from the U.S. military, there needs to be qualified and motivated leaders.

One such leader is a maintainer who was selected to be the TF-214 maintenance advisor-- Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Bjorkquist.

Currently personnel at 20th AF and TF-214 wear dual hats as they support both missions; however, the goal is to have the task force fully functional and standing on its own, using the proper resources.

The mission of 20th AF is to support Air Force Global Strike Command's role in organizing, training and equipping their Airmen. They are committed to preparing the force to practice standard-setting safety, nuclear surety and physical security of the weapon system, plus proper command and control of all ICBM forces.

This differs from the TF-214 mission, which is to execute ICBM operations, maintenance, security and support. It is TF-214's around-the-clock deterrence operations that applies the force developed under 20th AF.

When missions are so closely interconnected to ensure it's done right, it requires experienced members of the ICBM community.

"I have operators, security forces and maintainers working for me," said Col. Jay Folds, 20th AF director of operations and TF-214 director. "Once we started going down the integrative route [within the task force], that's when Senior Master Sgt. Bjorkquist came to work for me."

Folds has known Bjorkquist for over half a decade, giving him insight into Bjorkquist's leadership style and work ethic.

"The guy's a good communicator, who cares about people and this mission," Folds said.  "He's technically competent and leadership savvy; you won't identify any flaws. That's the reason he was put in for the Scowcroft Award, and won."

The Scowcroft award is given to the top performers in the Space, ICBM and Communication and Intelligence communities. Bjorkquist received the award for his excellence in the ICBM Maintenance and Logistics category, giving weight to his integral position in TF-214.

"It was unexpected," Bjorkquist said. "It was a great honor to win this award."

Maj. Neil Copenhaver, 20th AF maintenance branch chief, said that Bjorkquist is able to bring those around him in and focus on the future, which is one of the reasons his office nominated him for the award.

"He's easy going and easy to talk to; there is not a person in this building who does not feel comfortable approaching him for help or guidance," Copenhaver said.

Bjorkquist is known as a person who's on board with communicating and building the kind of relationships that are required for good teamwork, Folds said.

It is also evident that this Michigan native cares about both work and personal relationships as Bjorkquist said his family gives him the support system to handle any and all challenges that arise. So with the combined family support and know-how that 24 years of military experience can bring, he has excelled and has helped those around him excel.

"I see him taking [his knowledge] and figuring out and focusing where we should be going," Copenhaver said, "then taking that vision and driving it into requirements and longer-term guidance."