Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

July 22, 2011 at 9:54am

Rodeo is serious business for 62nd APS team

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- Mobility Airmen provide rapid, flexible and responsive global air mobility every day of the year. During Rodeo, however, their ability to provide these capabilities are pushed even further. Teams train for months, refining their skills in the pursuit of perfection.

According to the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron Rodeo Team, this competition is taken very seriously.

"Participating in Rodeo is a big undertaking for our Airmen," said Master Sgt. Robert Code, 62nd APS Rodeo Team chief. "Our leadership could not be more focused on this competition, and our team could not be more dedicated."

The team consists of a team chief and seven members. The members were selected at the end of April after a series of challenging tryouts which included both physical ability and job knowledge.

"We had them complete a three-mile run, push-ups and sit-ups," said Sergeant Code. "We also tested their job knowledge and put them through a board which required them to explain why they wanted to be a part of the Rodeo team."

After the five primary and two alternate team members were selected, training began right away.

"We definitely wasted no time," said Sergeant Code. "I wanted them to be a great team overall, both physically and mentally."

The team started off by running an average of 20 miles per week, with strength building workouts in between. Since the beginning of May, they have added a spin class twice a week and swimming to their routine.

"We train as hard as we want to win," said Staff Sgt. Jason Caro, 62nd APS Rodeo team captain. "It takes a toll on your body eventually. Sometimes you just want to quit, but it's all worth it once you look back and see how far you've come."

Along with a physically demanding training routine, the team focused on job knowledge as well.

"Training for the 2009 Rodeo was different," said Sergeant Caro, who was also on the 2009 Rodeo team. "I feel like what we lack in experience this year, we make up for in physical ability and strength. We're definitely training to know our job as much as possible."

Daily training included driving forklifts and K-loaders, cargo build-up, in-transit visibility and joint inspections. During Rodeo, the team will compete in events such as engine running on and offload, challenge course, 10k forklift driving and pallet buildup competitions.

"During our training, my team has definitely become more proficient," said Sergeant Code. "You can't prepare for every single scenario. Who knows what might pop up, but we've done everything possible to be successful in these events."

In 2005, the 62nd APS won Best Aerial Port Squadron. In 2009, they came back with a few individual awards. According to this year's team, they are aiming to win.

"We've come very far and worked very hard to prepare ourselves," said Sergeant Caro. "We're ready to win."

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