By Capt. Corinna Jones
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — The 302nd Airlift Wing saddled up and rode away from the 2011 Air Mobility Command Rodeo with the “Best Aeromedical C-17 Configuration Team,” the “Best Aeromedical KC-135 Configuration Team,” and the “Best Short Field Landing Aircrew” trophies. The competition took place July 23-29 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The Air Mobility Command Rodeo is a biannual Olympic-style competition that began in 1956 and involves mobility aircraft with aircrew, maintainers, aeromedical evacuation personnel, aerial port and security forces personnel competing in their respective core skills.
The AMC Rodeo is designed to showcase the abilities of U.S. air mobility forces and allows the teams to share the best tactics and techniques in the continued pursuit of coalition operations around the world.
“The team came to perform their best and they did and I’m very proud of them,” said Lt. Col. James Devere, 302nd Operations Group Deputy Commander and 302nd AW Rodeo 2011 Team Chief. “They have shown superior professionalism and performance in all of their respective career fields.”
Twenty-five Reserve and Active Duty aircrew, aircraft maintainers and aeromedical evacuation Airmen and one C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Wing represented Colorado and showcased their air mobility and combat skills.
“The total force integration [within the Rodeo team] has been extremely successful with a fifty/fifty Reserve/Active Duty in maintenance and a sixty/forty mix with the aircrew,” he said. “All members have shown great mile high spirit and camaraderie.”
Though the 302nd AW sent an aeromedical evacuation team to the 2009 AMC Rodeo, the 2011 Rodeo was the first time in ten years the 302nd sent a team, to include aircrew and maintainers.
“You never walk away from Rodeo without learning something about yourself, your crew, and air evac,” said Master Sgt. Rebecca Diaz, a medical technician assigned to the 34th Aeromedical Squadron. “We all have just come off a deployment, flying all three types of medical evac aircraft, so that gave us a strategic edge over our competition.”
The 302nd AW team agreed that Rodeo is more than a competition, but a chance to share tactics and knowledge with Airmen assigned to units across the Air Force.
“This is an opportunity for good relationship building with other units,” said Capt. Carrie Williams, 34th AES flight nurse and 2011 Rodeo 302nd Team medical crew director. “We don’t always get to interact with them and Rodeo is the chance to do that.”
The 302nd AW was one of approximately 40 teams who traveled from Air Force bases around the world, including seven international teams, to participate in this year’s rodeo.
“The 302nd Airlift Wing is a winning team every day. Rodeo is just a chance to demonstrate it,” said Col. Jay Pittman, 302nd AW Commander. “This has been a great opportunity to showcase the skills and combat capabilities of our Wing’s Airmen.”