Andersen's Port Dawgs organize first Rodeo

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Oakley Blake
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs

The small island of Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base, plays a giant role in guaranteeing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.  Much of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of Airmen classified as air transportation specialists, the “Port Dawgs.”  The Port Dawgs plan, build, and transfer cargo and personnel to SEND IT to their final destinations.

As part of an ongoing effort to develop Multi-Capable Airmen, the Port Dawgs of Andersen AFB decided to organize a friendly competition among themselves, igniting Andersen AFB’s first Port Dawg Rodeo. The winning team of the rodeo will receive a trophy carved by one of their own and more importantly, bragging rights.

“It’s the olympics of the air transportation career field,” said Tech. Sgt. John Navarro, lead organizer for the event. “It’s to measure our job knowledge, skills, and so we can see that we can rely on our own partners.”

Four teams were formed for each squadron with air transportation specialists, 734th Air Mobility Squadron, 36th Tactical Advisory Squadron, 36th Contingency Response Squadron, and 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

The competition consisted of five events, each highlighting important responsibilities of the Port Dawg field. The events consisted of building cargo onto pallets, marking the center of balance on a 25,000 lbs loader, forklift handling, and a simulated aircraft load/unload. The final event consisted of a demanding confidence course, where teams tested their physical fitness completing various challenges around the base. All events were timed, with time added on for penalties.

Each of the challenges provided opportunities for Port Dawgs to practice skills they might not be proficient in.

“I haven’t been a chalker so it was good for me to learn that it’s important not to move the chalk when the All Terrain 10k Forklift is moving,” said Senior Airman Lydia Granados, a member of the 36 LRS team. “If I hadn’t known that I could have really gotten hurt, it taught me the little details that we wouldn’t learn in a book.”

Aside from the fun in competing against one other, this competition also serves to showcase the capabilities of our island’s cargo handling.

“You have four different agencies with the same Air Force Specialty Codes but four different mission sets coming together to put their job knowledge, teamwork, and fitness to the test,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Oglesby, a member of the 734 AMS team. “By doing this you give each team a chance to work together as a team to test their abilities in fast paced situations in hopes of Port Dawg bragging rights. Ultimately building camaraderie and morale within each squadron itself.”

Events like these emphasize the value of working together to accomplish missions and provide opportunities for Port Dawgs to network with one another.

“You get to put names to faces and talk with people that you’re competing with. They can be people you know, you don’t know, and you can learn about them and make friends with them. It’s a good way to make connections in an informal setting. So that way when we are furthering the mission we know who to talk to, who to go to, and you know what their capabilities are,” said Senior Airman Lydia Granados, a member of the 36 LRS team.

At the end of the rodeo, it was the 734 AMS which took home the gold. The 734 AMS success in this first competition establishes the installation’s Port Dawg bar that is expected to rise exponentially. The event, however, serves as a reminder of the exceptional Port Dawg skill set that is invaluable to Andersen AFB’s mission, operation plan pacing, and execution.