News: Rodeo 'cowgirls' carry international spirit during opening ceremony
Story by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Rodeo "cowgirls" carried the American flag and those of international competitors for the Air Mobility Rodeo 2011 opening ceremonies July 24, 2011, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Rodeo 2011, sponsored by the Air Mobility Command, is the Mobility Air Force's readiness competition. The competition focused on improving worldwide air mobility forces' professional core abilities, according to the competition's fact sheet. More than 150 teams and 3,000 people from the Air Force, and Air Force Reserve, as well as allied nations participated in Rodeo.
In October 1956, 13 troop carrier wings of the Continental Air Command, the Air Force Reserve Command's predecessor, sent crews to participate in a "Reserve Troop Carrier Rodeo" at Bakalar Air Force Base, Ind., the fact sheet states. The first airdrop competition for units of the active-duty force occurred in April 1962, when the Military Air Transport Service held a MATS-wide Rodeo at Scott AFB, Ill.
The 1962 competition was a combat skills competition designed to develop and improve techniques/procedures while enhancing air mobility operations, and promoting esprit de corps. In 1979, Rodeo was expanded to include our international air mobility partners. 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.
An important long-term benefit is increased cooperation between air mobility forces from several nations, the fact sheet shows. Collectively, the ultimate goal of the competition 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," the fact sheet states.