By Dona Fair
Army and Air Force Hometown
MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — For most of us, the word rodeo conjures up images of an eight-second bull ride, barrel-racing cowgirls, little kids mutton bustin and daredevil rodeo clowns.
For a Copperas Cove High School graduate, the rodeo means which air mobility competition team can be named the “best of the best.”
Air Force Senior Airman James D. Cain, a 2004 graduate of Copperas Cove High School, was a participant at this year’s Air Mobility Command’s premier 60th anniversary event, the Air Mobility Rodeo, at McChord.
With Mount Rainer and the rugged shoreline of Puget Sound in the background, the world’s best air mobility professionals came together to test their aircrew’s flight and ground skills as well as the related skills of the security forces, aerial port operations, aeromedical evacuation, and aircraft maintenance team members.
Cain is an air transportation specialist with the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. “I am here to hopefully win first place for the 721st Air Mobility Operations Group, Cain said.
This year’s rodeo included teams and observers representing more than 30 nations, the largest international presence since 1979, when members from around the world were first allowed to compete.
“I trained for this competition for nine weeks in Rhode Island and here at Ramstein. My training consisted of running, running and more running, along with engine running on load training,” he said.
“I hope to take away a lot of new friends and more job knowledge from this competition,” Cain said.
Army National Guard Sgt. Desaree L. Acosta has been mobilized and activated for a future deployment to an undisclosed overseas location in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Acosta, an automated logistical specialist, is assigned to the 144th Field Artillery, San Antonio. The sergeant has served in the military for 10 years.
She is the daughter of Ronald D. and Catherine A. Jenkins, of Fort Hood. Her husband, Erik, is the son of Vincent J. and Esther Acosta, of La Puente, Calif.
Travis W. Breazeale has graduated from the 28-day Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Leader’s Training Course at Fort Knox, Ky.
Breazeale is a 2005 graduate of Temple High School. He is the son of Diana L. Breazeale, of Temple.
Army Pfc. Elizabeth E. Gershel has graduated from nine weeks of basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
Gershel is a 2004 graduate of Georgetown High School. She is the granddaughter of Helga Russell, of Killeen.
Navy Seaman Recruit Dakota D. Saunders has completed eight weeks of U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.
Saunders is a 2007 graduate of Lometa High School. He is the nephew of Tracy A. Gomez, of Killeen.
Air Force Airman Shuntel D. Darby has graduated from six weeks of basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio.
She is the daughter of Juan Darby, of Harker Heights, and Carolyn B. Morris, of Tampa, Fla.