Air Mobility Rodeo 2011
Story and Photos by Sagar Pathak
Every two years, the best of the best from across the Air Mobility Command get together at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., in an undisputed, winner-take-all competition that pits more than 50 aircraft and 2,500 airmen from across the world in a skills competition to crown the best of the best. This year, I had the chance to observe the March ARB Team as they participate in the Air Mobility Rodeo 2011.
First held in 1945, the AMC Rodeo is a weeklong competition that has featured more than 2,500 competitors from across the globe. More than 50 aircraft (C-17, C-5, C-130, KC-10, KC-135, T-1, C-37, C-32, etc.) 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 a.m. 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. After the few-hour flight to McChord, the team landed one second early and right on the mark. It was a great start to the competition.