521st AMOW hosts Mobility Rodeo

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Megan Beatty
  • 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing
The 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing hosted its first Mobility Rodeo at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, July 11-12, for nearly 120 U.S. and Dutch mobility professionals across the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

The Mobility Rodeo coincided with the wing’s 15th anniversary and tested mobility Airmen, including a Royal Netherlands Air Force team and Polish observers, on Ready Airman Training, aerial port and functional aircraft maintenance tasks over the course of two days to enhance home-station and deployed readiness.

“The Mobility Rodeo is an extension of the traditional Port Dawg Rodeo,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Virginia Walsh, Mobility Rodeo boss and 721st Aerial Port Squadron Combat Readiness and Resources Flight commander. “As the air transportation hub in Europe, we interact a lot with our allies and partners which we have seen in recent global contingencies. Extending the rodeo to them shows the interconnectedness we have [as NATO allies].”

Rodeos, traditionally called Port Dawg Rodeos, date back more than 60 years and provide a venue for friendly competition between aerial port Airmen in addition to certifying them on occupational tasks. This year, the 521st AMOW has evolved the event to include 25 teams from 13 different bases with Airmen spanning aerial port, maintenance, command and control, contingency response and vehicle readiness career fields.

The 521st AMOW hosted the 2022 Port Dawg Rodeo one year prior at Ramstein AB with 10 teams.

“This Rodeo in particular happens to fall on our 15th anniversary so there is an obvious connection to our heritage,” said Col. Dan Cooley, 521st AMOW commander. “Sixty-six years ago is when Rodeos started and we are continuing to honor that tradition.”

Rodeo participants were tested on their Ready Airman Training skill-sets, such as Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Training; Tactical Combat Casualty Care; and a 436th Security Forces Squadron Phoenix Ravens endurance course during the first day.

“The Rodeo is something we want to put our best effort toward and see if we can compete at the level the Air Force wants us to compete,” said Senior Airman Joshua Hodge, 728th Air Mobility Squadron avionics maintenance technician from Incirlik Air Base, Türkiye. “Our team is hoping to at least place [first, second or third] this year. This competition demonstrates the Air Force’s ability to come together from all across the globe to come together in one location and demonstrate our technical, physical and mental abilities.”

Hodge’s team, the Olympians, went on to place third place in the Ready Airman Training and aircraft maintenance events.

The teams then focused on their specific career field tasks on day two. These events included a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft nose tire change, 10K forklift obstacle course, pallet build up and more.

The 521st AMOW was able to use the Rodeo as more than an opportunity to host the friendly competition and celebrate the wing’s anniversary. The Rodeo also served as a certifying event for Exercise Mobility Guardian 2023.

“All the teams here are focused on being War-Ready Airman, which is a great tie to Mobility Guardian,” Cooley said. “It is incredibly important to include our allies and partners in events like these. Together, they are learning tactics, techniques and procedures because Mobility Guardian, much like a future potential conflict, does not confine to the lines on a map.”

Mobility Guardian 2023 is Air Mobility Command’s premier exercise demonstrating the command’s capability to quickly mobilize and deploy forces, despite kinetic and non-kinetic attack and disruption, to sustain a high-intensity Joint Force operational tempo.

The 305th Aerial Port Squadron from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, earned first place for the first day of Ready Airman Training events. The 725th Air Mobility Squadron from Naval Station Rota, Spain, earned first place during the maintenance events on day two, while the 721st APS took home the trophy for the aerial port events.

Events like the 521st AMOW Mobility Rodeo demonstrate the readiness and lethality of mobility Airmen and strengthen their ability to perform the Rapid Global Mobility mission to project, connect, maneuver and sustain the Joint Force.

Participating Teams:
721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
- 2nd place for maintenance events
721st Aerial Port Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
- 1st place for aerial port events
721st Mobility Support Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
435th Contingency Response Support Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
435th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
603rd Air Operations Center, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England
727th Air Mobility Squadron, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England
726th Air Mobility Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany
728th Air Mobility Squadron, Incirlik Air Base, Türkiye
- 2nd place for Ready Airmen Training events (728th AMS Aerial Port)
- 3rd place for Ready Airmen Training events (728th AMS Maintenance)
- 3rd place for maintenance events
8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
724th Air Mobility Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy
- 2nd place for aerial port events
725th Air Mobility Squadron, Naval Station Rota, Spain
- 1st place for maintenance events
940th Squadron, Airbase Eindhoven, Netherlands
62nd Aerial Port Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
305th Maintenance Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
305th Aerial Port Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
- 1st place for Ready Airmen Training events
- 3rd place for aerial port events
621st Contingency Response Group, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
89th Aerial Port Squadron, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
43rd Air Mobility Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina