by Staff Sgt. Michael Davis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

After a physically and mentally demanding competition, the five-
person aerial porter team from the 435th Air Mobility Squadron came out ahead of the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron for the opportunity to represent Team Ramstein at the Air Mobility Command Rodeo in July.

A rodeo runoff was held at the joint mobility processing center on Ramstein May 12, featuring hand-picked aerial port competing in five events based on real day-to-day objectives of their career field.

“Forklift driving, building up the pallets, making sure all the paperwork is correct, these are things that our Airmen do every day and in an outstanding manner,” said Lt. Col. Charles Schlegel, 435th Air Mobility Squadron commander. “This (runoff) was to take a look at their skills, and both teams were neck and neck almost the entire competition.”

The first event was a truck push, where each team had three people push a small pick-up truck, carrying the remaining two teammates, in a straight path to the finish line in the fastest time. The 86th LRS won the first challenge.

After the truck push, two members from each team raced to move a light cart onto a pallet and strap it down securely in the fastest time. The 435th CRG tied the score at 1-1 after blazing through this event.

The third and fourth events were completed simultaneously. Each team had three members build up a pallet using simulated cargo in different sizes, shapes and weights.

Meanwhile, the other two members of the team navigated a 10,000-pound forklift carrying a pitcher of water through a tight series of turns laid out by orange traffic cones.

The teams split the two challenges as the 86th LRS completed the fork-lift course in the fastest time without spilling the pitcher of water and the 435th AMS built the most efficient and secure pallet.

With each team winning two of the first four events, the last and most challenging event determined who would represent Ramstein at the AMC Rodeo. All five aerial porters from each team had to complete an obstacle course with five stations.
After being the first team to complete 50 push-ups per person in the first station, the 435th AMS team never looked back. They led the race through the remaining four obstacles: the litter carry, baggage toss, dunnage carry and finally crossing the finish line after a lap around the course wearing their gas masks.

Dozens of co-workers and friends cheered both teams as the last aerial porter crossed the finish line. In a show of good sportsmanship, all competitors congratulated each other for completing the physically demanding event.
Both the 435th AMS and 86th LRS aerial porter teams will travel to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, for the AMC Rodeo July 18, but only the AMS team will compete for points.  

“It feels pretty awesome,” said Staff Sgt. Darren Wiles, 435th AMS team captain and AMC Rodeo veteran. “I’ve been lucky and this is my second time around. For most of the guys on my team, this is their first go and it’s a great feeling and an awesome opportunity in the Air Force.”

Including the aerial porter teams, Ramstein will send a total of 60 personnel from nine functional areas to compete in various event categories showcasing the base’s mobility and readiness capabilities.

“The work is not over. We are going to continue the training that we can and push it as hard as we can,” Sergeant Wiles said. “We can’t let up now.”