Washington: RODEO 2009: Israeli air force team familiar with RODEO

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Wilkins, RODEO 2009 Public Affairs, Air Mobility Command, July 22, 2009

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Among international participants at Air Mobility RODEO 2009 here, few boast a longer history than an aircrew out of the Middle East.

According to Lt. Col. Micah Swersky, Israeli air force team chief, currently stationed at Nevatim AFB, Israel, C-130, at RODEO represent the relationship the Israeli team has with the aircraft and the competition. Israel started flying the C-130 in 1972 and attended RODEO numerous times last appearing in 1996.

The Israeli airmen hope previous RODEO experience will bolster the chance of taking home a trophy. One teammate, IAF reserve navigator/Colonel Avshalom Friedman, served on a victorious IAF RODEO team in 1990. Colonel Swersky said Friedman's presence adds a great deal of experience to a diverse team. The IAF team members hope to learn from other nations, but also expect that they can help others develop mastery of mobility operations.

"We don't expect there are great differences in what we do," said Colonel Swersky, "but things we hope to share are likely nuances in technique."

Israel entered mobility crews in several events here and in Europe over the years, capitalizing on opportunities to enhance skills and gain training. Many of the things they learn come from after-hours conversations when teams have a chance to get together in non-competitive environments and share experiences, Colonel Swersky added.

RODEO is a bi-annual event encouraging Airmen throughout the mobility force's sphere of influence to strive for and share best practices.

He also indicated that RODEO is a great opportunity to get a look at resources his country has considered acquiring, like the newest model of the C-130 and the C-130J. They plan to increase their familiarity with the J model on a visit to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, later this year.

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