C-17 Globemaster III load master Senior Airman Jeff Purvis, 517th Airlift Squadron, guides a Halvorsen loader into C-17’s cargo bay during a practice load for the Air Mobility Command RODEO 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo\Steve White)
by Senior Airman Christopher Gross
JBER Public Affairs
5/19/2011 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The Airmen have been rounded up and they've been preparing themselves for this year's Air Mobility Command RODEO, which is set to take place from July 23 to 29 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Twenty-nine members make up Team Alaska, consisting of several different teams, including aerial port, aircraft maintenance, security forces, contingency response and a few more.
Each team was chosen differently, some having competitions within their own sections to narrow down the individuals that will be participating in this year's RODEO.
The RODEO was first introduced in 1962 and is a biannual event. Its purpose is to improve the skills of air mobility professionals.
"The idea behind RODEO is to foster an environment to increase professionalism as well as standardization," said Capt. Brian Muto, Team Alaska team chief. "It provides us an opportunity to do something that brings everyone together as a team and the competition really brings out the best in individuals."
Muto added that aside from the competition the hospitality is great, because it allows units from all over country and the world to congregate in one single location and share their tactics, techniques and procedures which in turn strengthening our U.S Air Force. Muto said he expects about the same participation in this year's RODEO as in the one they previously participated in two years ago.
During the 2009 AMC RODEO, approximately 60 aircraft from more than 20 countries participated. A total of 10 different types of aircraft made up the nearly 60 that participated, including the C-17 Globemaster III - which Team Alaska used in 2009 and will be using again this year - the C-5 Galaxy, three variations of the C-130 Hercules and several others.
The captain said he feels confident his team will fare well in the competition.
"I plan to train the team to the best of their abilities. I really think we're going to dominate the competition," he said.
He said his team is the best of the best from their units and they seem highly motivated. Muto also said there were lots of lessons learned from their last RODEO and they've taken those points and put them into their integrated training plan in hopes of executing them this year.
Almost 15 other countries were on hand to observe the event in 2009 to include, Algeria, Brazil, Jordan and Greece to name a few. According to Muto, before a unit can participate they have to attend at least one prior RODEO to learn the ins and outs to ensure when they do participate they can compete to the best of their ability.
Feeling good about his team, Master Sgt. Augustine Circello, one of the coaches for Team Alaska said, "I think we've got a solid team and a solid game plan for success."
This year will be Circello's second time coaching and when the team arrives at JBLM, Circello will be an in transit visibility umpire, ensuring cargo and passenger manifest are created correctly.
Circello also said he has seen some strong dedication from his team, often putting in eight hours worth of training per day. He added his team is doing everything it can to plan smart and utilize all the assets they have available.
He said more than anything, he wants his team to take away the importance of team camaraderie and secondarily networking as well as learning what other units are doing so they can in turn increase their capabilities.
"This is the cream of the crop; it's the top crews and top teams from all around the world," Circello said. "It's a chance to show off their capabilities, it's a premiere competition. We look forward to the challenges ahead of us."