Competitors set for AMC Rodeo 2007

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Twenty Airmen from RAF Mildenhall are slated to compete in Air Mobility Command's Rodeo 2007 July 22 through 28 at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. 

The team will join more than 55 international teams in the rodeo. The competition focuses on readiness. It features airdrop, air refueling and other events showcasing security forces, aerial port, maintenance, and aeromedical-evacuation personnel. 

"The rodeo itself is a pretty big deal, fostering a lot of healthy rivalry, pure competition and bragging rights," said Capt. Christopher Saettel, 100th Operations Support Squadron executive officer. "The winners can very well claim to be the best tanker and transport wings in the world." 

RAF Mildenhall's team for Air Mobility Command's 2007 Rodeo will be announced by Col. Michael S. Stough, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, May 3 at noon in Hangar 814. The team will be comprised of 10 maintenance Airmen, four security forces Airmen, and six KC-135 crew members. A barbeque to raise money for the team will immediately follow the announcement. 

There are 45 U.S. teams, including three from the Marine Corps and one from the Coast Guard, as well as international competitors from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Netherlands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Nineteen other countries are sending observer teams. 

"The diversity of this year's competition shows the importance of having such an event," said Lt. Col. Chris Duffek, AMC Rodeo 2007 director. "In today's climate we are working more and more with other branches of service and other countries. Competitions such as this event give us a chance to focus on improving our worldwide air-mobility forces' professional core abilities." 

The last biennial competition took place in June 2005 at McChord Air Force Base. While the operations tempo remains high, Maj. Gen. Scott Gray, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center and AMC Rodeo 2007 commander, said it's important that AMC continues this key event. 

"(The) rodeo showcases AMC's best of the best and allows us to train and learn through spirited competition," General Gray said. "Not only does this world-class competition train mobility forces for the fight, it provides a forum for Airmen and our international partners to share the best of tactics and techniques. Improvement and cooperation are essential in the continued pursuit of the Global War on Terrorism." 

The rodeo began in 1962 as a combat-skills competition designed to develop and improve techniques and procedures while enhancing air-mobility operations and promoting esprit de corps. In 1979, the rodeo was expanded to include international air-mobility partners. It provides valuable joint and combined training for all participants. 

An important long-term benefit is increased cooperation among international air-mobility forces. Collectively, the ultimate goal of the competition is to develop and improve techniques and procedures that enhance air-mobility operations. Spirited competition furthers that purpose, while strengthening the mutual goals and bonds of friendship developed between competing teams.