Top performance for 99th Airlift Squadron, 89th Aerial Port teams in AMC Rodeo|
Posted 8/3/2007 Updated 8/3/2007
by Pacifica Chehy
8/3/2007 - ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. -- Congratulations to the 89th Airlift Wing and the 99th Airlift Squadron who took home the "Best OSA/VIPSAM Crew" award at the Air Mobility Command Rodeo 2007 competition held July 22 through 28 at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. The biannual competition focuses on readiness and features airdrop, air refueling, and other events showcasing security forces, aerial port, maintenance and aeromedical evacuation personnel. More than 2,500 competitiors and observers from the U.S. and 34 other countries participated in Rodeo 2007, AMC's premier 60th Anniversary event and the largest Air Mobility Rodeo in its 45 year history. The 99 AS competed against seven other wings in the OSA/VIPSAM category at this year's challenge.
"Our 89th team trained hard for their events at rodeo and it showed," said Maj. Jay Hutzell, 89th Airlift Wing RODEO team chief and 99 AS director of staff. "They all did a tremendous job and I couldn't be more proud. The SAMFOX ideal was definitely well represented to the rest of the command as well as to our joint service and international partners."
The OSA/VIPSAM competition had two timed taxi block-ins. Each event was perfect, in which the 99 AS team was a total of zero seconds off of their required scheduled time. "That is pretty tough to do especially with only a 35-minute flight in which to adjust timing and no maneuvering allowed" said Major Hutzell.
Equally impressive for the Andrews team was the spot landing competition. In this contest, there is a line marked on the runway approximately 1,500 feet down. "Although this is not something we normally practice, Maj. Mike Eaton was only 8 feet off the mark on the first landing and 14 feet off on the second for a total of 22 feet. When you approach the runway at 150 miles per hour, only being 22 feet off in 2 landings combined is amazing!" explained Major Hutzell.
The 99 AS team also had a great performance in the combined Fit-2-Fight fitness competition which included pushups, situps, and a 1.5 mile run all to be completed in less than 3 hours from arrival time at the event. The team finished second among the fifty-five competing teams, missing first place by a mere 1/4th of one point.
The 89th Aerial Port Team under the leadership of Senior Master Sgt. Curtis Palmer, 89 APS was equally impressive, placing second--missing the top position by only two seconds in the Aerial Port Challenge Course competing with thirty wings. This course consisted of a four-mile run in battle dress, a litter carry, M-16 weapon assembly, gas mask donning and a run in the mask, a dunnage carry, a 100-yard push of an Ford 350 pick-up, a 20 question test from the Airman's Manual, and a memory test.
They also competed in other events like a 10K forklift driving course, a 25K Halvorsen driving challenge, and an engine running aircraft offload. So impressive was their performance that one of the judges from AMC Stan/Eval commented their performance on the 25K Halvorsen challenge was inspiring.
Representing the 89th Airlift Wing at this year's event were Lt. Col. Bob Holba, 89th Operations Group deputy commander, Chief Master Sgt. Troy Marvin, 89th Airlift Support Group command chief, Maj. Jay Hutzell, team chief. 99 AS team members included Maj. Mike Eaton, Maj. Jim Moore, Tech. Sgt. AJ Joseph, Staff Sgt. Aaron Blaker, and Staff Sgt. Diana Esposito. The 89 APS team members were Senior Master Sgt. Curtis Palmer 89 APS team chief, Master Sgt. Brian Wahl, Staff Sgt. Steven Digby, Staff Sgt. Bradley Burton, and Staff Sgt. Luke Novak.
Also representing the 89th Airlift Wing and participating and observing some of the events for the first time ever at RODEO, were several key Andrews AFB civic leaders including Honorary Commanders Mr. Jim Estepp, President and CEO of the Greater Prince George's Business Rountable, Rev Brian Mentzer, Pastor, Riverdale Baptist Church, and civic leader Mr. Gary Michael, President of the Michael Companies.