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Air Mobility Command's Rodeo can trace its roots back to 1956 and the Continental Air Command's Rodeo competition. The Rodeo competition name stems from the 1956 Reserve Troop Carrier Rodeo at Bakalar Air Force Base, Indiana hosted by the Continental Air Command. The active-duty force of the early 1960s received its direction from Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. The Eisenhower Administration recommended the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) change its mission from a passenger service to strictly military airlift as well as aligning tactical U.S. Army deployments under MATS.     The Kennedy Administration further stressed the importance of rapid global mobility in his first State of the Union Address stating “Obtaining air transport mobility—and obtaining it now—will better assure the ability of our conventional forces to respond, with discrimination and speed, to any problem at any spot on the globe at a moment’s notice.” The President wanted the U.S. to have the capability to prevent both limited and guerrilla wars by being able to rapidly deploy military forces around the world. Up to this direction from the Kennedy Administration MATS had only required troop carrier units equipped with C-124 Globemaster II aircraft to be qualified in its Computed Air Release Point (CARP) aerial delivery technique. The CARP technique required the aircrew to file a detailed flight plan detailing the route along with the exact Time on Target (TOT). Using the CARP process correctly would ensure that an airdrop would be made based on time and would allow the airdrop to take place even if the at night or if the drop zone was obscured by weather. Beginning in January 1961, however, MATS required all C-124 units to become CARP qualified.





Armed with this new direction in April 1961, Brigadier General Richard Bromiley, Commander of the 1501st Air Transport Wing, Travis AFB, CA, proposed a command-wide CARP Rodeo as a method to foster CARP training. While MATS was working out the details of such a competition the Western Transport Air Force (WESTAF) held its own CARP Rodeo between the 1501st Air Transport Wing and the 62d Air Transport Wing based at McChord AFB. On 11 July three crews for each wing flew low-level navigation routes and dropped miniature parachutes over part of Winters-Davis Airport near Travis AFB. The 1501st won the competition over the 62d which had more experience with CARP operations.   Meanwhile MATS was planning an annual, command-wide competition similar to Strategic Air Command’s bombing competition and Tactical Air Command’s William Tell Competition.


The first of these was held at Scott AFB, IL 16 – 22 April 1962. Seven wings, the 62d Air Transport Wing (McChord AFB, WA), 63d Troop Carrier Wing (Donaldson AFB, SC), 1501st Air Transport Wing (Travis AFB, CA) 1502d Air Transport Wing Hickam AFB, HI, 1503d Air Transport Wing (Tachikawa AFB, Japan), 1607th Air Transport Wing (Dover AFB DE), and 1608th Air Transport Wing (Charleston AFB, SC), each sent one aircraft and two crews to participate. This first official CARP Rodeo consisted of three events: a low-level, daylight, navigational mission, a similar night mission, and second daylight mission following a different route. During each mission the team dropped a 25 ounce shot bag attached to a miniature parachute simulating a 225 pound load. During the night missions a small flashlight taken from Mae West life preserver to aid in recovery. Combat Control teams from the 62d and 63d wings were stationed at the drop zones to recover and score drop accuracy.      


On 1 April 1963 MATS required all units with airdrop capability to train formation flying, and the aerial delivery of personnel and equipment using CARP. This directive coupled with MATS’ desire to added realism led to the inclusion of formation flying, heavy cargo drops, and troop drops event in the 1963 CARP Rodeo.


Because of the unavailability of a drop zone suitable for heavy cargo and paratroops near Scott AFB the second competition was held at Dover AFB and took place 22 – 28 September. The same seven wings participated again with two crews and one C-124. However, both the 1501st and 1608th also entered a C-130 Hercules aircraft. Each crew flew a morning, afternoon, and night cargo drop. Additionally, each crew was required to drop a team from the 101st Airborne Division over Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The wings each also sent a ten-man maintenance team, their performance, however, was not part of the competition.    


The third CARP Rodeo, held 9 – 13 November 1964 at Hunter AFB, GA, expanded to include nine wings, including C-130 teams from the Naval Air Transport Wing, Atlantic and the Naval Air Transport Wing, Pacific. The 1964 competition followed the same format as the previous year's using drop zones on Fortt Stewart, Georgia. The MATS commander, General Howell M. Estes II, named the trophies awarded in 1964 after former MATS commanders: the Lieutenant General Laurence S. Kuter Trophy was awarded to the C-124 team with the highest aggregate score, the Lieutenant General Joseph Smith Trophy went to the C-130 team with the highest aggregate score, the Lieutenant General William H. Tunner Trophy went to the team, C-124 or C-130, with the best single drop, and the General Joe W. Kelly Trophy was awarded the best crew, either C-124 or C-130.      As involvement in the Vietnam War began to escalate military resources were shifted toward supporting the fighting in Southeast Asia. Consequently, no Rodeo competitions were held after 1964.  

CARP RODEO (1961 - 1964)
Combat Airlift Competition (1969 - 1972)
Volant Rodeo (1979 - 1986)
airlift rodeo (1987 - 1990)
Air Mobility Rodeo (1992 - PRESENT)
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