Six Reserve wings in it to win at Rodeo

  • Published
  • By Sandra Pishner
  • 446th Airlift Wing
Six Air Force Reserve wings will go toe-to-toe with active-duty Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and international air forces at Air Mobility Command's Rodeo 2007, July 22-27 at McChord Air Force Base, Wash.

AMC Rodeo 2007 is the mobility Air Force's readiness competition. This competition focuses on improving worldwide air mobility forces' professional core abilities.

"After months and even years of preparation on the part of many individuals, it is time to execute Rodeo 2007," said Brig. Gen. Eric Crabtree, commander of McChord's Reserve home team, the 446th Airlift Wing. "The planning and coordination on the part of the two wings here at McChord (with Air Mobility Command) has been a huge and daunting process. The event promises to be a great success in terms of participation and level of competition.

The six Reserve wings and their aircraft competing in Rodeo 2007 are: 446th AW (C-17); 315th Airlift Wing, Charleston AFB, S.C., (C-17); 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown, Ohio (C-130); 916th Air Refueling Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., (KC-135); 439th Air Mobility Wing, Westover, Mass., (C-5); and the 514th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire AFB, N.J. (KC-10). Reservists from the 514th AMW will also blend with the active-duty 305th AMW out of McGuire to form a C-17 team of aircrew and maintenance. The 315th AW will do the same with their active-duty counterparts, the 437th Airlift Wing. Although combining their aircrew and maintenance teams, the 315th AW will compete separately in the security forces, aerial port, and aeromedical evacuation events.

Reserve units have historically done well in Rodeo competitions. From 1979 to 1989, Reserve units dominated the C-141 maintenance category, winning seven times in a 10 year span. In fact, in 1989, the 446th Airlift Wing won every C-141 category - best aircrew, maintenance, ERO, and spot landing.

In 1985, a Rodeo milestone was achieved when the 94th Tactical Airlift Wing (C-130), from Dobbins AFB, Ga., became the first Reserve wing to win the General Moore Trophy for best wing. That feat was repeated by the 446th Airlift Wing, which earned the Moore trophy in 1992. Rodeo, however, is not all about winning awards.

Through this gathering of the "best of the best," Airmen improve tactics through sharing of experiences and comparing notes. One example of Rodeo's value in this regard came at time the competition was called Volant Rodeo at Pope AFB, N.C.

After winning the Best C-141 Aircrew Award in 1984, the 445th Military Airlift Wing, (Associate), Norton AFB, Calif., revealed a crude, but effective sighting system. It consisted of a series of strings placed strategically on the flight deck windows. With this sighting system, the crew found it could accurately align the aircraft over the drop zone in relation to the navigator's computer air release point flight plan.

"The nav(igator) could look directly at the DZ - not out to the side - so he could concentrate on DZ alignment," explained then-Capt. Hans Martel, aircraft commander. This new sighting system proved intriguing enough to warrant comment in "The MAC Flyer," a publication dedicated to circulating information about airlift techniques and safety.

During AMC Rodeo 2007 opening ceremonies, Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, AMC commander, acknowledged the talented reservists and Air National Guard troops present this year, cautioning active-duty competitors to not let down their defenses.

"In many cases it's a Total Force member who is not active duty who takes home all of the titles," he said.

At the last AMC Rodeo in 2005, the 446th Airlift Wing, a Reserve Associate, won six trophies.