Pacific-based Airmen build international partnerships, show off skills in Port Dawg Rodeo

  • Published
  • By Ms. Amelia Dickson
  • 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing

Out of six teams from six different squadrons, only one could claim the title of “Top Dawg Team” during a Port Dawg Rodeo hosted Aug. 30 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Hawaii.

The 62nd Aerial Port Squadron (APS), based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, took home the title — in addition to wins in both the “Halverson C-17 Upload” and “Combat Fitness” categories.

“We trained for quite a while for this,” said TSgt. Ronald West, who let the 62nd APS team. “I didn’t think I’d be as nervous as I have been today.”

While Port Dawg Rodeos have long been a way to test Airmen’s skills and build relationships across units, the recent event took that relationship-building mission a step further. Each of the participating squadrons competed alongside international partners from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Philippine Air Force.

The rodeo was scheduled in conjunction with the Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium, which draws international participation. Symposium participants from international air forces — including the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, the Mongolian Air Force, and the Chilean Air Force — observed the rodeo’s events.

The delegation also toured a C-17 Globemaster while attending the rodeo.

MSgt. Brian Tate, air freight superintendent for the 735th Air Mobility Squadron (AMS), said that competing alongside foreign partners is a great experience for Port Dawgs. The experience helps develop strong Airmen, and the partnerships can last throughout an Airman’s career.

In addition, it gives Port Dawgs an opportunity to show off their skills.

“Everything they did today is part of the daily job,” Tate said. “They’re going to upload planes every day, they’re going to build pallets every day, drive fork lifts every day.”

Tate and other members of the 735th AMS worked hard to plan and execute the rodeo

This was the first rodeo for many of the participating Airmen, including SSgt. Jorge Contreras, of the 733 AMS. His team consisted of four members from his squadron, and partners from both Japan and the Philippines.

“I’m loving it,” Contreras said. “I’m loving leading this team, I’m loving showcasing what we can do.”

The competition included teams from the 62nd APS, the 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron from JBPHH, the 730th Air Mobility Squadron from Yokota Air Base in Japan, the 733d Air Mobility Squadron from Kadena Air Base in Japan, the 735 AMS from JBPHH, and 821st Contingency Response Group from Travis Air Force Base in California.

The teams competed in five competitions: center of balance and knowledge test, pallet build up, 10K forklift, Halvorsen C-17 upload, and combat fitness.