Leader Blues

Monday, July 09, 2007

TOP STORY >>Base's title on the line

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Two teams from Little Rock Air Force Base are gearing up to travel to McChord AFB, Wash., to defend LRAFB’s titles of “Best Airdrop Wing” and “Best C-130 Wing” during the 2007 Air Mobility Rodeo held July 22-28.

In the last rodeo competition, held in 2005, Little Rock earned six titles: Best C-130 Post-flight team, best C-130 maintenance team, best C-130 airdrop crew, best C-130 crew, best C-130 wing and best airdrop wing.

More than 55 U.S. and international teams are scheduled to participate in this year’s competition, including active duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard units, three teams from the Marine Corps and one from the Coast Guard, as well as allied nations.

Little Rock’s two teams, one from the 314th Airlift Wing and one from the 463rd Airlift Group, a total of 30 airmen, have two goals in mind while preparing for rodeo: return the trophy and the competition to Little Rock.

“Our goal, going into this, is to bring the trophy back to Little Rock and bring the rodeo back as well,” Capt. Robert Shaw, 314th Security Forces Squadron operations officer, said.

“Everyone competing is highly skilled, highly trained and highly motivated,” he added.

A C-130E and J crew will both head to McChord in hopes of defending the titles won at the last competition.
The local C-130E and J aircrew teams includes airmen from the 53rd, 62nd and 48th Airlift Squadrons. The 53rd and 62nd AS both fly the C-130E; the 48th AS flies the newer C-130J.

There are also maintenance, logistics, readiness and security forces teams competing from LRAFB.

The Air Mobility Command- sponsored event is a Mobility Air Forces readiness competition that focuses on improving worldwide air mobility forces’ professional core abilities.

Rodeo tests the flight and ground skills of aircrews as well as the related skills of special tactics, security forces, aerial port operations, aeromedical evacuation and maintenance team members. It also provides valuable joint and combined training for all participants.

The ultimate goal of the competition, according to Air Mobility Command’s rodeo fact sheet, is to develop and improve techniques and procedures that enhance air mobility operations.

Spirited competition furthers that aim, while strengthening the mutual goals and bonds of friendship developed between competing teams.

There is also a fit to fight competition that consists of the rodeo team chief plus nine randomly selected team members to be tested in a 1.5 mile run, sit-ups and push-ups, much like the Air Force’s fitness test.

To voice the base’s desire to host rodeo in 2009, a team of community leaders will also head to McChord to campaign the cause, Chris Roberts, head of the Airpower Arkansas committee, said.

“We would love nothing more than to host the entire competition right here beginning in 2009,” Roberts said.
The last biennial competition took place in June 2005 at McChord after a three-year hiatus because of increased operations in support of the global war on terror.