C-130 crew wins '09 Rescue Rodeo

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- An MC-130P Combat Shadow crew from the 129th Rescue Wing won first place in a combat search and rescue flying competition Sept.13 at Gabreski Airport, N.Y.

The Rescue Rodeo was a small-scale version of other Air Force competitions, such as the William Tell air-to-air competition. The rescue event was started by the Gabreski-based 106th Rescue Wing's 102nd Rescue Squadron in 2004 as a squadron contest.

"This year the 106th opened it up to all the CSAR units," said Maj. Jose Agredano, 129th Operation Group chief of tactics. The 129th crew, King 53, flew against four ANG and one active duty crew.

The scheduled events included searching for a lost boat, dropping a rescue kit, flying a low level to a personnel airdrop and landing on an assault zone. Points were assessed for fastest times, most accurate times, airdrop accuracy and spot landing (landing closest to a pre-briefed spot on the runway). Due to severe weather over the eastern coast, several of the events were cancelled.

"In the end, the events were scaled down, but it was still a lot of fun and very exciting," Major Agredano said.

After the competition ended, the rescue crews gathered in the106th auditorium to find out who won the competition. "We sat nervously after all the crews had landed, listening to the scores being read out loud," Major Agredano said. "We ended up tied for first place with last year's winning crew from the 102nd RQS."

In the event of a tie, the winner was determined by the spot landing event. "King 53 landed closest to the spot...so we won," Major Agredano said.

The King 53 crew included Maj. Jose Agredano, aircraft commander, Maj. Jeremy Guenet, co-pilot, Capt. Jimmy Weidman, navigator, 1st Lt. Kenly Lok, navigator, Senior Master Sgt. David King, flight engineer, Senior Master Sgt. Reed Johnston, radio operator, Tech. Sgt. Aaron Fillip, loadmaster, Tech. Sgt. Eric Valdez, loadmaster, and Staff Sgt. Douglas Quayle, flight engineer, and Staff Sgt. Tom Beall, crew chief.