• Wed July 21 2004
  • Posted Jul 20, 2004
by Cynthia Bauer Air Mobility Command Public Affairs 7/20/2004 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFPN) -- For the 10th year, Air Force cyclists will take to their bikes for the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. The RAGBRAI XXXII ride takes place July 25 to 31, covering about 500 miles through the middle of the state. The “Team Air Force” legacy began in 1995 when a group of 28 active-duty Air Force bicycling enthusiasts and a support crew of three from the 343rd Recruiting Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., formed a team to bolster recruiting numbers in Iowa. The original group of Air Force cyclists grew in numbers, and in 1997, the team became a private organization officially recognized by the Air Force as well as the Internal Revenue Service. In 1998, the team comprised 80 riders and 20 support crew. The team also received support “from the top,” when avid cyclist and then-Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Sheila Widnall rode with the team for five years beginning in 1995. The support continued with former-Air Force Secretary Whit Peters, Dr. Widnall’s successor, who rode with the team in 2000. “One of the precepts of our team is that we are all recruiters,” said retired Lt. Col. Stu Carter who has ridden in eight of the nine past rides. “We set a positive image all week long -- on and off the bike -- and talk to people about the Air Force and what we do in the Air Force.” The first year, the team recruited 11 Iowans as a result of the ride. Research commissioned by the secretaries of the Air Force shows the team has recruited dozens of people in the following years. Colonel Carter said, the team is responsible for two-dozen or more Air Force recruits each year as a direct result of participation in the ride. “I could go on for days about the stupendous return on investment for the Air Force. Every team member pays his or her own way. Each brings a passion for the Air Force and cycling, each has his or her own equipment, volunteers time to talk to hundreds of people all week long, pays for transportation expenses, food, lodging, etc.,” Colonel Carter said. “And, each person asks for nothing in return.” Col. Bob Norman, director of command and control for the Tanker Airlift Control Center here, currently leads the 100-plus-person Team Air Force and a support crew of about 40. Air Force Recruiting Service supports the team by arranging for permissive temporary-duty status for those eligible and providing small promotional items to give to others throughout the ride. Recruiters also take advantage of the ride by setting up displays at the overnight stops. This year, Brig. Gen. Robertus C.N. Remkes, AFRS commander, will lead the team on the first day of the ride from Onawa to Lake View. This route is rated one of the easiest yet most challenging stretches of the ride, with a total elevation climb of 2,685 feet in 69 miles. The ride covers about 490 miles through the middle of Iowa; an optional loop adds another 24 miles. The event officially registers 8,500 riders for the full week. (Courtesy of Air Mobility Command News Service) Source:

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