COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Change in the military is a constant. Personnel, equipment, tactics, and other facets of military life are in an endless, ever-evolving churn, as units strive to achieve and maintain the highest level of readiness.Despite personnel changes at every crew position in 2019, the Soldiers of Delta Crew, 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense), demonstrated resilience throughout the year to earn Top Crew honors for the Missile Defense Element in Colorado Springs.Delta is one of five missile defense crews operating out of the MDE, based at Schriever Air Force Base. These rotating, multi-composition crews comprise regular-Army and Colorado Army National Soldiers whose primary mission is to defend the homeland from intercontinental ballistic missile attack.Each crew is regularly evaluated on gunnery tables, which start by qualifying Soldiers on individual, position-based tasks, to certifying an entire crew under defined tactics, techniques and procedures. The highest gunnery table certification level, Table VIII, tests the crew’s ability to work as a team while utilizing the sophisticated Ground-based Midcourse Defense Fire Control System to engage warheads that are inbound to the homeland. Crews are required to undergo Table VIII evaluation no fewer than two times per year. In addition to gunnery table evaluations, each crew member must take a written test to demonstrate their holistic system knowledge.In 2019, the Soldiers of Delta Crew achieved the highest combined Table VIII evaluation and written test scores – but the margin of victory was razor-thin.“It’s a close competition between the crews,” said U.S. Army Capt. Skye Robinson, the standards and evaluations officer in charge for the 100th Brigade. “I am proud of our accomplishment, but Top Crew was never the goal. Developing ourselves and our crew was the goal.”Robinson, who served as a deputy director and current operations officer for Delta Crew in 2019, has served on two previous Top Crews. He said that a key to success while working as a missile defense crew member is to maintain resilience and work together with your team. For Delta Crew, that team dynamic changed throughout 2019, as the crew cycled through Soldiers and battled attrition due to retirements and other Soldier moves.According to Delta Crew director, Maj. Timothy Biart, any change to a crew structure requires additional evaluation and testing.“Any time the configuration of a crew changes, that crew is required to Table VIII certify all over again,” said Biart. “On top of having to do the necessary training to bring someone from a baseline knowledge to being Table VIII certified, there is much crew coordination that goes into it.“It’s a challenge because your crew has to train down to the level of the new person,” Biart said. “You’re used to driving a finely-tuned sports car and you’re back down to a Ford Fiesta with crank windows and a stick shift, trying to figure out how you’re going to operate this thing.”Table VIII certification is achieved based on a stringent set of tactics, techniques and procedures. While a crew is evaluated as a whole, each person has a specific set of responsibilities.“You’re bringing a new person into a team,” Biart said. “So they have to figure out how to assimilate themselves, and the team has to figure out how to integrate them to become effective. The majority of that is done by training. A lot of training.”For Delta Crew, that training was the combination of executing TTPs within scenario-based training exercises and academics.“When we finally got a crew to the Table VIII level, I had everyone write test questions,” said Biart. “We had our own internal test. On top of that, we did a run competition where each crew member would build a training run. I judged the winner based on whichever run gave us the most training value.“The benefits of that were two-fold,” said Biart. “It generated Soldier buy-in for training. And when they’re building the runs, they have to learn and discover how imposing certain constraints impact the rest of the system. It makes them better subject matter experts on the weapon system as a whole.”Biart likened crew training to peaks and valleys.“Morale is established by the leaders,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges is keeping people motivated. When you’re one of the new Soldiers on the team, you’re going to fail a lot. You’re going to miss a lot of stuff. It’s real easy for people to give you a hard time about it, but we choose to be constructive.”Sgt. Nadia Carter, a readiness operations officer, was one of those new Soldiers in April. She said Delta's collective flexibility paid big dividends while she trained.“Training-wise, they were very effective and diligent, but most of all they were patient,” Carter said. “They had a formula to get new people up to speed and it worked.”Part of that formula is Biart’s philosophy that every crew member should know as much about the system as the director, or more.“One of my relatively experienced and very good communications operators got overwhelmed during a certain point in the fight,” Biart recounted. “My readiness operator, the junior ranking member on my crew, immediately picked up a couple of his tasks. Without asking or having to be directed, she recognized the situation and said, ‘I’ve got it.’“It was one of the more complicated calculations. It was on her own that she learned how to do that and it came to fruition during that evaluation,” said Biart of Carter.Carter said there is healthy competition between crews, but it is also a collaborative effort between the crews in Colorado Springs and at Fort Greely, Alaska, to share knowledge and best practices.In addition to netting year-long bragging rights, Biart, Robinson, Carter and other crew members were awarded the Army Commendation Medal for their respective contributions to Delta Crew in 2019 during a March 5 ceremony at 100th Brigade Headquarters.“It builds a sense of camaraderie,” said Robinson. “We’re doing it for each other. We, as a collective, wanted to make the other guy’s job easier. We weren’t doing it for ourselves, or to win Top Crew, we were doing it for each other.”