RIDING A MESSAGE OF WESTERN APPRECIATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Written by Laura
Thursday, 26 May 2011 17:21
For centuries Cowboys have had to deal with the devastation that can be wrecked on their livestock and land by an errant spark, haystack fire or worse yet a raging forest fire rolling across their land. Today on a US Air Base in the middle east, surrounded by rock and sand it wasn’t forest fires that were being spoken of, but the real life and death risks of what fire can potentially do to our
men and women that serve on one of our countries most secure Air Bases in the world. Instead of the snap and pop of a ponderosa pine going up in a ball of flames, the words of our nations finest firefighters were heard, hanging in a early morning air, thick with the smell of jet exhaust fumes. The words were of suppression. “I know how hard I train to be a professional rider on the PRCA and these guys are just total hardcore.” said Kaycee Feild, “ I know they could learn how to ride a rig’n setup, I’m not so sure I could ever do their job.” he added.
After exchanging stories and seeing to it, that these heroes got their names on the Wrangler National Patriot National Finals Rodeo Performance Flag, it was time to take the cowboys, girls and firefighters out for a group photo session. Jeff Chadwick, Wranglers manager of western events took advantage of the groups, climbing up onto the front of one of the fire trucks to share with this group of heroes the thanks and admiration of a grateful community. “I want to thank you on behalf of Wrangler and VFjeanswear along with our many partners that have supported this second annual tour. I also want you all to know that the entire western community is rallying around the Wrangler National Patriot Tour... the appreciation I’m speaking of comes from millions of Americans who, as a family, represent the western industries community.”
Firefighters weren’t the only ones to learn a thing or two about the western communities support for our service members. Our Cowboys were able to convey this message of support to our behind the scenes mechanics and maintenance staff
members, the troops that ensure that what goes up into the skies around the World, operates flawlessly, bringing America’s flight crews home safely from the hundreds of thousands of missions flown each year. “I can relate to what these maintenance workers do” said World Champion Mounted Shooting Cowgirl Annie Bianco Ellett adding “ in my sport the competitors are also the rig haulers, animal care givers and our pistols don’t shoot straight without daily love, care and upkeep... if these guys don’t perform their jobs, the wheels come off the bus.”
How our US Air Force keeps up and out in front was explained in detail by the base command during a one hour multi-media presentation lead by one of the wings vice commanders. From how many sorties launch into the wild blue yonder each year to base command structure, missions, logistics and security, our Cowboys and girls took in the details of daily operations down to the smallest detail. “When you take into account the constant sorties, second in the World most secure base status and then look at what it takes to keep that going... well, it kinda leaves you speechless” added Annie.
Lucas Hoge the teams only music artist, along with Armed Forces Entertainment public affairs embed Master Sergeant George Roach, Pennsylvania Air National Guard found themselves learning from the only four legged service members on the base with a stop at the security forces canine unit. Hoge, one of the hosts of Discovery Channels Animal Planet show ‘Last Chance Highway’ has had a love for dogs since his earliest childhood memories. “I got to spend nearly the entire morning with MSgt Roach and our nations finest paws” a smiling Hoge said, adding “heat is a killer and the way our Canine Service Handlers work with our nations top dogs on duty in these conditions is amazing... I’d love to come over and spend a month traveling from base to base showcasing these patriots efforts for America, the level of professionalism, combined with caregiving, partnering has to be witnessed... it’s a story of trust and teamwork that is very powerful.”
With temperatures jumping into the triple digits the team could be seen walking across a desert scape, their white cattlemen’s creased cowboy hats standing in stark contrast to their desert surrounds and ultimately against the digital camouflage of our US Army members who maintain the bases Patriot Missile Defense System. After a quick over view by the units commander, the team struck out on foot to shake hands and share as many thank you’s as possible with our service members...keeping a promise made to the millions of western fans who share in their support for our troops. “I’m so grateful to Armed Forces Entertainment and American300 Warrior Tours for allowing us to be here, by capturing moments of thanks and appreciation in film and photography we're able to share America's Heroes with America’s Western Community and the nation as a whole.” said Chadwick adding - “ No matter where we go next, who we meet, share stories with, one thing is certain these US Air Force and Army members will be in our thoughts and prayers forever”