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Ramped up for Rodeo

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Don't expect any complacency at the 2007 Air Mobility Rodeo from the 2005 Best C-17 Wing, according to the 446th Airlift Wing's team chief. 

After picking up top honors for best C-17 wing, along with five other awards, the 446th Airlift Wing is working diligently to keep its title. 

"We are practicing to win. We're putting a lot of time and effort into the competition -- nothing is being left up to luck. But, the competition is very tough," said Lt. Col. Gregory Pyke, 446th AW team chief for 2007 Rodeo. 

Although the aircrew is comprised completely of Reservists, they practiced full-time during the week, which presented an array of challenges. 

"Trying to coordinate our training with the [active duty's] training is a juggling act because there are only so many planes available," said Maj. Charles Corrigan, 313th Airlift Squadron pilot and Rodeo co-pilot. 

Making sure they have the best bird available to sweep the competition are 446th AW maintainers. 

"We've taken on an aircraft that's been out in the system flying hard," said Senior Master Sgt. Cameron Pence, regarding the C-17 Globemaster III he and his fellow Reservists are preparing for Rodeo. 

At the 2005 competition, Reserve maintainers from the 446th AW won the Best Pre- Flight Team award. 

Meanwhile, 446th AW aerial porters are hoping to make another strong showing this year. The team garnered first prize for Best C-17 Engine Running On /Offloads during the 2005 Rodeo competition, and they're anxious to prove their mettle once again.
 
"The team is really excited. They know their goal and are ready to compete," said Master Sgt. Ron Cargill, APS team manager. 

Also competing for the 446th AW is a security forces team and aeromedical evacuation team. With all their hard work, Reservists from the 446th AW are optimistic about how they will fare in the 2007 Rodeo. 

However, Sergeant Pence from the maintenance team pointed out that there is more to the event than just friendly competition. 

"It's a chance to enhance our professional abilities and knowledge," he said. "It's a great growth opportunity for everyone involved."