Secretary Donley visits mobility air forces competition

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
  • Rodeo 2009 Public Affairs
The secretary of the Air Force received an in-depth look at the mobility world during a visit here July 22 for Air Mobility Rodeo 2009.

Secretary Michael B. Donley toured the competition, met with Airmen and international partners, and experienced the sights and sounds of the many Rodeo events.

"It is an honor to come see it and to be a part of this," Secretary Donley said. "It's been a wonderful opportunity to see the scope and breadth of all the things that Air Mobility Command is providing for our Air Force." 

In addressing Rodeo's seven international competitors and observers from 13 other nations, Secretary Donley said he was grateful to have them here. 

"We are learning from you and hopefully you are learning from us," Secretary Donley said during a town hall discussion to all the Rodeo competitors and staff. "We share a common goal in protecting the global interests and in making coalitions which benefit all of our countries together in the fight against international terrorism. We appreciate the partnership your presence here represents. This is extremely important to the United States. We welcome each and every one of you to this important event." 

The secretary also noted, after a full day to view the competition, that seeing the Airmen who are the heart and soul of AMC was a welcome experience. 

"America doesn't have global reach and global power without Air Mobility Command," Secretary Donley said. "Global mobility is enabled by the gray tails of airlift, the tankers that support that air bridge, by the port operators and by the tactical lift that moves people and goods around theaters of operation. That mobility piece also includes aeromedical evacuation. That's a tremendous capability." 

Secretary Donley said he saw a mixture of experience in the competition and he expects those who are less experienced to take home a lot of lessons learned. 

"For Airmen coming to Rodeo, they are going to learn a lot from those whom they are competing with," Secretary Donley said. "They'll be able to grade their performance against that of their peers in a friendly and competitive environment. Our Air Force will benefit from that and our international partners are going to benefit from that as well. So it is a win-win for all who are concerned." 

Through competitions such as Rodeo, Secretary Donley said the Air Force gains tremendously valuable experience. That experience translates to wartime preparation and further experience. Fifty years from now, he said he'd like people to remember that the United States and its coalition partners succeeded in giving the people of Iraq and Afghanistan a new start in a dangerous part of the world. 

"We want to look back and say we succeeded in giving them that opportunity," Secretary Donley said. "I think, right now, thousands of combat veterans are performing in an outstanding fashion on behalf of our military. I think we are building America's next 'greatest generation' right now."