Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TOP STORY >> Event enhances air-mobility skills

Base and community leaders will gather for a rousing send-off for Little Rock Air Force Base’s 2011 Air Mobility Rodeo Team with a ceremony at the base on Friday morning, according to Staff Sgt. Jim Araos.

Rodeo 2011, to be held Saturday through Sunday, July 23-29 at McChord Air Force Base in Washington, is the premier international air-mobility combat- and flying-operations competition, Araos said in a press release.

The event helps competitors develop and improve techniques to enhance air-mobility operations and promote esprit de corps, optimizing mobility partnerships.

For more than 50 years, rodeo has helped airmen to foster teamwork, hone their skills and develop discipline.

More than 50 teams and 2,500 people from the active-duty and Air Reserve forces, with representatives from allied nations, are expected to participate at Rodeo 2011.

Team Little Rock brought home a bevy of awards in 2009, the last time the rodeo was held.

The Air Mobility Command’s Rodeo is considered to be the Olympics of airlift abilities. Teams will come from all over AMC and some from overseas. They compete in events including aerial refueling, airdrop, aerial port, maintenance, military security and aeromedical evacuation.

To cheer the base contingent on as they put their best efforts forth, several local civic leaders will be accompanying the airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base, according to John Oldham, chief, 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs.

Accompanying the 314th Airlift Wing will be Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, Rep. Jane English, John Burkhalter, president, Burkhalter Technolgies, Inc., and 314 AW honorary commander; Walter L. Biernacki Jr., president and chief executive officer, Arkansas Federal Credit Union; and Larry T. Wilson, president and chief executive officer, First Arkansas Bank and Trust.

Going with members of the 19th Airlift Wing are Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher, Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert, Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman; Phil Davis, owner, Your Extra Specialties and 19th Airlift Wing honorary commander, and former Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim.

Leader reporter Sarah Campbell will also accompany the team.

About 110 airmen from Little Rock competed in the 2009 event.

The rodeo, which besides being a competitive event, gives participants a chance to network with peers and contacts, is held every two years.

Team Little Rock also travels with a group of civilians interested in cheering the team on. The contingent, which lends a good deal of moral support from the community, will travel with the team from the send-off breakfast to their return at week’s end.

In 2009 the team brought home nine trophies including the highly-coveted Best C-130 Wing honor, won by the 19th Airlift Wing.