A total of six two-man teams from Team Dover’s 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst’s 87th LRS out of New Jersey showcased their abilities during the during this first-ever ground transportation rodeo held at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Sadly for the “home team,” the New Jersey-based 87th LRS won the competition – but by only a scant 3 minutes.
A total of 25 airmen competed in this event, with their ground transportation capabilities evaluated as they executed rapid operation of forklifts and tractor-trailers in loading and maneuvering drills. Teammates took turns loading containers onto flatbed trailers and maneuvering around obstacles with both vehicles, with each team evaluated on total time. Here, Tech. Sgt. Joshua Casey, 436th LRS, in charge of vehicle operations control center support, uses hand signals to direct forklift operations.
Here, Senior Airman Antonio Chaviano, a vehicle operator and central dispatcher with the 436th LRS, backs a tractor-trailer between two cones. Chaviano and his partner, Airman 1st Class Benjamin Mantonya, completed the course with Team Dover’s fastest team time of nine minutes and 21 seconds.
Both the forklift operators and truck drivers had to weave through cones quickly and precisely during this timed event during the rodeo. “Our career is basically the ground equivalent of air transportation,” noted Senior Master Sgt. Donald Clayborn with the 436th LRS. “On April 1, 2017, our career will be renamed to ‘ground transportation.’ So we planned the rodeo to show our skills at ground transportation; and that’s just what we did.”
“I’d like to see this [rodeo] get bigger and bigger,” noted Lt. Col. Todd Walker, commander of the 436th LRS. “There’s really no limit to what this could become. What better way is there to share the importance of what we do, build friendships and showcase our skills all at the same time?”
Staff Sgt. Ryan Mack, a vehicle operator with the 87th LRS – known as “Team MDL” during the rodeo – directs Airman 1st Class Justin Wheeler while he backs a truck between cones. Team MDL’s Senior Airman Patrick Kirker and Staff Sgt. Neal Garrett were the top two-man team in the rodeo, completing the course in a staggering eight minutes and six seconds.
Senior Airman Antonio Chaviano with the 436th LRS or “Team Dover,” checks his mirror as he backs a 40-foot-long trailer between cones in a 90 degree turn while navigating the ground transportation rodeo course. To complete the course, Airmen had to weave between cones with both a forklift and tractor trailer and back the trailer between cones perpendicular to the obstacle course.
After all was said and done, Team MDL took home the traveling trophy after winning both the team and overall time categories at the first-ever ground transportation rode at Dover Air Force Base.