Ramstein Airmen saddle up for Rodeo

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Ramstein is set to send 36 Airmen to compete in the Rodeo competition July 22 to 28 at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. 
Rodeo, sponsored by Air Mobility Command, began in 1962 and has developed into an international competition designed to test the flight and ground skills of aircrews, security forces, aerial port operations, aeromedical evacuation and maintenance team members.  The biennial event gives Airmen around the world a chance to prove they are the “best of the best.”
Ramstein will be represented by members of the 86th Airlift Wing and the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron and will compete in more than 20 events.  The 86th AW Rodeo team will bring a C-130 and  C-21 aircraft to the competition.
“It is an honor to have a Ramstein team participate in this world-class competition that not only hones our skills, but allows us to work beside our international partners and learn from each other,” said Col. Glen Apgar, 86th AW vice commander.  “It will make us all better Airmen and warriors.”
Beside the cross flow of information, the competition gives Airmen multiple training opportunities.
The team will be operating in a different environment, with mountains and unfamiliar drop and landing zones, said Lt. Col. Kurt Raffetto, 86th AW Rodeo team chief. 
The team began practicing May 1 for the intense competition, he said.  The members were selected by squadron leadership and through tryouts. 
In total, there are 45 U.S. teams, including three from the Marine Corps and one from the Coast Guard. International representatives will include teams from Germany, Turkey, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates, according to the AMC public affairs office.