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volant Rodeo

By the late 1970s the U.S. military focus was shifting away from Southeast Asia and toward supporting NATO in Europe. Department of Defense leadership mandated capability to rapidly reinforce Europe while also dispatching forces to deal simultaneous crises in other parts of the world. With this direction MAC decided to renew its emphasis on airdrop procedures as a means of rapid delivery. MAC leadership again considered a competition format as an excellent way to gauge the level of proficiency and refine airdrop techniques.


In 1979, General William Moore Commander of MAC re-established the airlift rodeo competition renamed as the Volant Rodeo. It was to be held at Pope AFB from 3 9 June of that year. Gen Moore directed each of his Airlift Wings, to participate in the first Volant Rodeo, also in attendance was airlift units from the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. In all 31 teams competed flying de Havilland C-7 Caribou , Fairchild C-123 Provider, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and C-141 StarLifter.


 Events at the Volant Rodeo '79 included airdrops of both equipment and personnel, ERO, assault takeoffs and landings, maintenance inspections, aerial delivery inspections, as well as Combat Control and Security Police marksmanship and a tactical exercise guarding a C-130 against a group of simulated terrorists. The XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg also supported the Rodeo by providing paratroops, equipment, and drop zones for the air drop events.


The following year the Rodeo was again held at Pope Air Force Base from 13 19 July. For the first time, "Rodeo" had and international flavor, with the expansion to airlift units from other countries from all around the globe. A total of 37 team participated in the 1980 event including four international teams from Australia, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the United Kingdom. The German team competed in the C-130 category flying Transall C-160 aircraft.


Allied interaction was expanded during the 1981 Rodeo, held 7 13 June at Pope Air Force Base. Allied aircrews were given opportunities to fly in MAC aircraft and in at least one case MAC adopted British procedures, using copilots to assists the navigators during low level missions.  The 1981 edition of Rodeo was the last competition for the C-7 and C-123, all airframes were to be being phased out of U.S service before the next Rodeo competition.


The 1982 Rodeo, held at Pope Air Force Base from 13 18 June, was also the first that saw an allied nation win the overall competition as Italys 46th Air Brigade won the Best Wing Award. The Rodeo format remained relatively unchanged over the subsequent four years. The 94th Tactical Airlift Wing became first Reserve unit to win the Best Wing Award in 1985 and the 136th Tactical Airlift Wing was the first Air National Guard unit to win best wing in 1986.


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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P.O. Box 4205
McChord AFB, WA. 98438-0205
e-mail - mamfound@mcchordairmuseum.org