Wings, Wheels, Rotors and Expo 2011
Open house held at storied base
By Dave Palmer
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – The ‘Wings, Wheels and Rotors Expo’ is a one-day event that draws more than 30,000 spectators to the historic Los Alamitos Army Airfield. This year’s show was held Oct. 23.
As the only remaining military airfield in the greater Los Angeles area, the base plays a major role in regional exercises and real-world emergencies and is home to California's Southern Region Office of Emergency Services.
“What we want to do is develop a closer association with local and state officials,” said District Commander Col. Mark Toy. “When we get our new Rapid Response Vehicle we are going to house it here and we will be able to further develop these relationships. One of our mission sets is emergency operations.”
The show featured classic cars, military aircraft, emergency vehicles and first responders.
“We have the chance to educate a lot of families on water safety and disaster preparedness, as well as explain to the general public what the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is,” said Anne Hutton, chief of the district’s Emergency Management Office. “A lot of the military organizations aren’t sure either, because we have such a large civilian workforce.”
Event co-sponsor the California National Guard chose the event to announce the winners of their “Best Warrior” competition. Nine citizen-soldiers competed earlier this month at Camp San Luis Obispo, Calif. Events included a confidence course, land navigation, written essays and combatives, or hand-to-hand combat.
Spc. John Cunningham was named the top Soldier and Staff Sgt. Demetrius McCowan, the top non-commissioned officer.
McCowan and Cunningham move on to regional competition against winners from Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii and Utah. The regional winners will then compete against National Guard, Reserve and active duty Soldiers in the U.S. Army’s Best Warrior Competition.
“I think I’ve saluted more here in the last hour than I have in my last year in command,” said Toy. “It’s nice to be with Soldiers; that’s what a lot of us in uniform truly love. Although my last year here working with Department of the Army Civilians, who are just as dedicated, is great.”