Annual Port Dawg Rodeo Highlighting Interoperability with Partner Nations

  • Published
  • By Ms. Theresa Valadez
  • 515th Air Mobility Operation Wing

Giving Airmen a chance to exhibit skill and compete, the annual Pacific Air Force Port Dawg Rodeo took place, Nov. 16, 2023, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Honoring legacy, dedication and unwavering commitment to excellence, the Port Dawg Rodeo is the very essence of our aviation community.

“This event reinforces our commitments to each other while enhancing the interoperability and lethality of our forces,” said Col. Kyle Benwitz, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing commander. “The rodeo is a celebration of unparalleled skill and camaraderie here in Hawaii!”

The Pacific Air Forces Port Dawg Rodeo boasts a rich history, dating back to 1956, when thirteen troop carrier wings convened at Bakalar Air Force Base, Indiana, to showcase their extraordinary aerial prowess.

From these humble beginnings emerged the Military Air Transport Service Rodeo evolving from a staff competition into a force-wide contest that refines mobility readiness techniques; marking the dawn of tactical mission capabilities and the evolution of aerial delivery procedures that has shaped today’s approach of readiness and mobility in the Air Force.

“Showcasing the abilities of our Airmen and demonstrating their capabilities on a global platform, while simultaneously bringing competition and morale makes this an event we look forward to throughout the year,” said Lt. Col. Justin Hinrichs, 735th Air Mobility Squadron commander.

International teams from the Royal Australian Air Force, the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Philippine Air Force participated in this year’s rodeo. Members from each international service joined one of the eight participating United States Air Force Squadrons to compete alongside each other.

Events included in the rodeo are the pallet build-up, aircraft loading, center of balance knowledge test, 10k forklift skills course and a combat fitness challenge, all of which encompass the day-to-day tasks of mobility Airmen.

“We always say that when the mission calls for it, our teams are ready to operate as one, and this event goes to show how true that sentiment is,” Hinrichs said. “We may come from different cultures and speak different languages, but when it comes to executing premiere logistics support, we share the integrated bonds of pride and excellence.”

During the event, Airmen experience the most rudimentary form of interoperability with allied nations and partners.

“Team Kadena had a great time working with our JASDF counterpart, Tech. Sgt. Yasuhito Sato,” said Staff Sgt. Edrian Ke, 735th AMS aircraft services supervisor. “Being able to learn and share from our allies has been immeasurable. I was even able to us the opportunity to practice my Japanese and use his primary language to cheer him on and communicate effectively as a team.”

While being stationed at Kadena Air Force Base, Ke has taken time to learn the national language in order promote effectiveness with interoperability and communication, which he put into use during the rodeo.

Concluding the events of the rodeo, the teams were placed according to their skills demonstrated during the events.

The “Tokyo Avengers” from the 730th AMS prevailed in this year’s rodeo earning the title of “Top Dawgs.”

“The Airmen at the 730th AMS collaborated seamlessly with our enroute maintenance breatharian team to extract the multi-capable Airmen value, a skill that is crucial for mobility Airmen in executing Rapid Global Mobility operations to deliver the right effects, at the right place and at the right time!”