Every two years, the best of the best from across the Air Mobility Command get together at Joint Base Lewis McChord. WA in an undisputed, winner take all competition that pits over 50 aircraft and 2,500 Airmen from across the world in a skills competion to crown the best of the best. This year, I have the chance to observe the March ARB Team as they participate in the Air Mobility Rodeo 2011.
The morning began at 0430, where I pulled an all nighter and drove to March ARB to meet with Public Affairs and a few other Civic Leaders as we prepared for our week long adventure. Our C-17 Globemaster was soaked in fog, but after months of preparation was ready for battle!
We would meet with the leadership of the March ARB and were told of it’s importance of not only participating in a skills competition, but to also be able to learn from their colleges in the next week from across the globe.
First held in 1945, the AMC Rodeo is a week long competition featuring over 2,500 competitors from across the globe. Over 50 aircraft (C-17, C-5, C-130, KC-10, KC-135, C-160, etc) will fill the ramp at McChord Field and compete in contests such as air-to-air refueling, on/off loading cargo, aero-medical evacuations, low-level flying and air drops.
As we took off from March ARB, our Team was already in the first event of the competition and would be judged on our landing. We had to land at McChord Field at exactly 10:05 am and within 3,000 feet of the end of the runway. And delay in flight or lack of accuracy on the landing would cause our Team to lose points.
I’m proud to say that we nailed the landing!
It was a great start to what I know will be a great week! As soon as we got off the plane, Brigadier Gen. Rick Martin was there to greet us and give us a big welcome. That welcome was extended by the other teams that we ran into. But as friendly as they were, come the start of the competition, it was game on!
Be sure to follow the March ARB Team on Twitter for live updates throughout the week!