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SWODEO Competition 2021

woman climbing obstacle course cargo net

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Alexa Dominguez, 3d Combat Weather Squadron operating location-alpha staff weather officer, navigates the obstacle course cargo net climb during the Staff Weather Officer Rodeo (SWODEO) competition at Fort Hood, Texas, Jun. 30, 2021. SWODEO is a three-day competition where SWOs are tested on technical proficiency, tactical competency and physical ability. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Ryan Parks)

two men giving thumbs up

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Damian Burke (left) and Staff Sgt. Matthew Carlson, 3d Combat Weather Squadron headquarters staff weather officers, give their approval of the ruck march during the Staff Weather Officer Rodeo (SWODEO) competition at Fort Hood, Texas, Jul. 1, 2021. SWODEO is a three-day competition where SWOs are tested on technical proficiency, tactical competency and physical ability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Parks)

two men looking at a map

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Christian Kosik (front) and Staff Sgt. Julian Davis, 3d Combat Weather Squadron, Detachment 1 staff weather officers, orient themselves to determine their azimuth before the land navigation event during the Staff Weather Officer Rodeo (SWODEO) competition at Fort Hood, Texas, Jun. 30, 2021. SWODEO is a three-day competition where SWOs are tested on technical proficiency, tactical competency and physical ability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Parks)

two men climbing a wall in an obstacle course

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brad Schmidt (top) and Staff Sgt. Joshua Waters, 3d Combat Weather Squadron headquarters staff weather officers, ascend an obstacle course high wall during the Staff Weather Officer Rodeo (SWODEO) competition at Fort Hood, Texas, Jun. 30, 2021. SWODEO is a three-day competition where SWOs are tested on technical proficiency, tactical competency and physical ability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Johnson)

two men running

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Campbell (front) and Staff Sgt. Johnathan Kazmierski, 3d Combat Weather Squadron headquarters staff weather officers, sprint to the obstacle course finish line during the Staff Weather Officer Rodeo (SWODEO) competition at Fort Hood, Texas, Jun. 30, 2021. SWODEO is a three-day competition where SWOs are tested on technical proficiency, tactical competency and physical ability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Johnson)

group photo in front of a statue

: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Campbell (front) and Staff Sgt. Johnathan Kazmierski, 3d Combat Weather Squadron headquarters staff weather officers, sprint to the obstacle course finish line during the Staff Weather Officer Rodeo (SWODEO) competition at Fort Hood, Texas, Jun. 30, 2021. SWODEO is a three-day competition where SWOs are tested on technical proficiency, tactical competency and physical ability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Johnson)

FORT HOOD, Texas --

The 3d Combat Weather Squadron held its inaugural Staff Weather Officer (SWO) Rodeo, “SWODEO”, competition, June 29 - July 1, to identify the best SWO team in the unit.

Six teams comprised of Airmen from across the three Combat Weather Squadron’s headquarters, detachments and operating locations took on 11 events that assessed their technical proficiency, tactical competency and physical ability. During the three-day competition, SWOs were tested on limited data forecasting, tactical weather sensor operations, weather observations, M4 Carbine rifle functionality and accuracy, tactical combat casualty care, radio operations, land navigation, obstacle courses, stress run/ruck marches and weather forecasting/operations knowledge.

Competition was fierce as bragging rights amongst the squadron’s geographically separated units (GSUs) were on the line.

“SWODEO was a good way for teams to see how we stack up throughout the squadron,” said Tech. Sgt. Terrance Schalin, Team 3 member and Detachment 3 SWO. “Everyone here is the most experienced and skilled the 3 CWS has to offer.”

Through teamwork and sustained superior performance throughout the event, Team 2 consisting of Staff Sgt. Damian Burke and Staff Sgt. Matthew Carlson, Headquarters SWOs, were named SWODEO winners and earned the unofficial title of “Best SWO Team.”

“Matt and I complimented each other well and leveraged each other’s strengths,” said Staff Sgt. Burke. “I’ve been assigned to the 3 CWS for 5.5 years and PCS soon, so competing in SWODEO was a great way to assess what I’ve learned along the way and served as a culmination to my time as a SWO.”

While SWODEO was a fun and exhausting experience for the competitors, it was also an opportunity to meet other members of the squadron, share ideas, and build some comradery.

“SWODEO was significant because for the first time since the pandemic, seven of our nine GSUs were able to come together,” said Lt. Col. Danele Richardson, 3 CWS Commander. “In this community we often meet in deployed environments as two to three forecaster teams embedded with Army units. This event finally gave us an avenue to meet across all ranks, put faces to names we often only see in emails and provide some hope that we are beginning to recover from the pandemic.”

In addition to bolstering 3 CWS esprit de corps, SWODEO also served as a proof of concept for this fall’s inaugural Thunder Challenge, which will pit teams from Combat Weather Squadrons across the globe and select Air National Guard Weather Flights in a week-long competition to determine the top SWO team in the whole Air Force.