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628th LRS brings home 1st place trophy at Air Force competition

By Senior Airman Christian Sullivan | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | June 11, 2019

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. —

The 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina separated themselves from 12 different bases across the Air Force by taking home first place in the 3rd annual Ground Transportation Rodeo, May 10-12, 2019, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

The squadron’s ground transportation team competed in a bevy of challenges against units from across the Air Force, coming out above their peers, showing their mission capability and readiness first-hand to the command chief for Air Mobility Command, Chief Master Sgt. Terrence Greene, a former ground transportation Airman.

“Looking at the career field over the years I have never seen it coming together like it is today,” said Greene at the competition. “Back in the day, it was really disjointed. I am seeing the career field come together.”

Tech. Sgt. Paul Freebern, 628th LRS NCOIC of training validation and operations, said he was pleasantly surprised to see Greene, who used to be the command chief at Charleston.

“He graced us with words of wisdom several times throughout the weekend of events,” he said.

The competition included a career field Air Force Instruction test, a forklift driving competition, a relay and a tractor driving competition. The events were designed to show the speed and efficiency Airmen need to operate in a contested environment.

“Every time you touch or knock a barrier over during the forklift competition there was time added, which is directly applicable to operating in a warehouse that has small aisles,” said Freebern. “It’s not a race in the real world but if you’re in a deployed environment, you can use these skills to be more efficient and effective when accomplishing the mission.”

One of the JB Charleston’s Airmen used his experience from back home to help separate himself in the tractor driving portion of the competition.

“I’ve been driving tractors since I was 14 years old,” said Senior Airman Vincent Campbell, 628th LRS vehicle operator and dispatcher. “It’s a skillset I’ve always had and feel like a qualified driver to represent our base.”

Campbell’s experience was integral to the team winning the competition considering the team’s final score and narrow margin of victory in the competition.

“We squeaked by, winning by only two points,” said Freebern. “Airman Campbell’s tractor driving event put us over the top, finishing 45 seconds better than the second place Airman in the competition.”

Although the Airmen from different bases were competing against each other, they all strive to accomplish the Air Force mission, using each other’s techniques and teamwork to take back to their respective home stations.

“It takes a lot of teamwork to win stuff like this,” said Campbell. “Seeing all the other operators in our career field was great. It’s good to see all the outstanding Airmen working together.”