Military budget constraints have again prompted the Air Force to cancel an international military competition typically held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord every other year.
The Air Force had been expected to restore its Air Mobility Rodeo at JBLM this summer. It announced Friday that the financial pressures that led it to cancel the event in 2013 are again forcing it to strike plans for this year’s competition.
In past years, the rodeo has brought hundreds of airmen from the U.S. Air Force to JBLM for several days of events testing their abilities against each other and against counterparts from France, Germany, Israel, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. They show off skills ranging from shooting to how efficiently they can unload a cargo jet carrying wounded soldiers.
“During these challenging times, we need to be good stewards of our very limited funds and our airmen’s time,” Air Mobility Command Commander Gen. Darren McDew said. “It’s unfortunate, but given the circumstances, this is the right decision.”
The rodeo is not a public event, such as the popular JBLM air show. About 150,000 people turned out the last time JBLM hosted an air show, in July 2012. It used to be an annual event but it, too, has become sporadic because of tight budgets and the pace of wartime deployments.
The rodeo’s cancellation is disappointing news to airmen who view the competition as a fun way to improve training on a range of aircraft, such as the KC-135 refueling tanker, the C-130 cargo plane and JBLM’s signature cargo jet, the C-17 Globemaster.