Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TOP STORY >> Victory salute for airmen

Leader staff writer

Airmen and Brig. Gen. Rick Martin, Rodeo 2011 the commander, gathered Monday to celebrate Little Rock Air Force Base’s 314th Airlift Wing receiving two trophies that say it is the best Air Mobility Command wing and the best airdrop wing in the world.

The wing was not presented those trophies at Rodeo 2011 because of a scoring error. Martin apologized that the team was not recognized at the grandiose award ceremony held in joint base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where airmen competed in a variety of competitive events during the last week of July.

He also complimented the 314th’s care of its C-130 E-model, the oldest plane used at this year’s competition. “You made it shine like a ghost,” he said.

Col. Mark Czelusta, 314th Airlift Wing commander, made it clear that his team couldn’t do what it does without the help of its sister wing, the 19th Airlift Wing. He also thanked the community for its support.

“There’s a partnership with the 19th Airlift Wing. We couldn’t do without them,” he said. “The partnership with our community; when they say it’s their base, they mean it and they’re absolutely right.”

Rodeo is the Air Force’s and Air Mobility Command’s premier air-mobility competition. The competition draws the “best of the best” from air forces around the world.

LRAFB teams competed against more than 40 teams and 2,500 people from U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and several foreign countries.

The teams brought home eight trophies.

The 314th Airlift Wing boasts seven of those. In addition to the two trophies it received Monday, the team won best C-130 team, best C-130 airdrop wing, best C-130 maintenance skills team, best C-130 maintenance team and best overall maintenance skills team.

The wing had to turn over one award, best C-130 airdrop crew, to the 19th Airlift Wing because of the scoring error. It was the only award that wing, which was named the best C-130 wing at the last rodeo in 2009, got this year.

Air Mobility Command officials found the programming error on Aug. 18 after doing another check of the results before posting the detailed scores for rodeo competitors to access, according to a release.

Some C-17 and C-130 scores were miscalculated during an automated process that incorrectly assigned a median score for events.