FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) — Fairchild Air Force Base is scheduled to participate in a regional joint-force exercise to promote total force readiness from July 31 to Aug. 11, 2017.
Air Mobility Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, will execute Mobility Guardian, an international, joint-service exercise that involves several bases and airfields in the Pacific Northwest, and is considered to be the most realistic, scenario-driven exercise the command has ever undertaken.
“The exercise will involve more than 60 aircraft,” said Capt. Andrew Sainsbury, a 92nd Operational Support Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker pilot instructor. “Included will be the C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker, KC-10 Extender and KC-130J tanker aircraft … along with a slew of allied partner nation’s aircraft.”
Twenty-five allied partner nations, along with the U.S. Army and Navy, are providing aircraft to take part in this exercise. These multi-role aircraft will help U.S. aircrews and ground forces develop and improve techniques and procedures to enhance air mobility operations and cooperation alongside allied military units.
“Our air crews already do allied support missions in deployed locations,” said Tech. Sgt. Evangeline Evanzia, a 92nd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator. “It’s good to be able to train with allies at home, helping ready us for potential warfare contingencies in peacetime, so we’re prepared to act as needed.”
When U.S military forces need to get to a battlefield in times of war, it’s the cargo and refueling support aircraft that get them there. AMC alone launches an aircraft approximately every three minutes, 365 days a year, in support of operations worldwide.
“Fairchild is vital to Joint Forcible Entry operations,” said Capt. David Leibrand, the 92nd Operations Group chief of wing tactics. “Our KC-135 Stratotankers provide troop and cargo aircraft the ability to travel anywhere on the planet, providing the capability to reinforce allies or confront an adversary with ground forces within a matter of hours.”
Troops from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and 62nd Medical Brigade will join Airmen in rapid, ground-force deployment efforts at locations to include Fairchild AFB, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Moses Lake Airfield and Yakima’s McAlister Field.
“The state of Washington is an ideal place for simulated drop missions,” Leibrand said. “Its close proximity to many terrain and environment types such as forests, deserts, mountains and arctic conditions, allow us to practice global missions in our backyard.”
The U.S. remains a global peacekeeping leader due to its ability to support allied forces wherever they may be, and its mobility Airmen that help bring the fight and evacuate the wounded. During the Vietnam War, the average was 45 days to bring an injured service member back home to the U.S. but now it takes a mere three days and boasts a 97 percent casualty survival rate. This is in part due to the capabilities of the KC-135s and the efforts of their crews.
“We are outfitting some of our KC-135s for cargo and aeromedical evacuation,” Leibrand said. “Fairchild is heavily involved in humanitarian efforts, and supporting the Army’s 62nd Medical Brigade gives us a rare training opportunity.”
AMC developed the Mobility Guardian exercise to test the full capabilities of its Airmen, aircraft and support units in simulated global operations to stress mission capability limits.
“Fairchild is indispensable in providing global reach for our nation’s armed forces,” said Col. Ryan Samuelson, the 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “Through exercises such as Mobility Guardian, we continue to stand ready to respond to any threat to our nation or call for help by our allies. It is for this reason that we train like we fight, to stand ready to deliver Rapid Global Mobility Now.”
Photo: A P-3 Orion takes off while a C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135 Stratotanker and C-130 Hercules prepare for takeoff during the Mobility Guardian exercise Aug. 2, 2017, at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. Air Mobility Command’s Mobility Guardian exercise is the largest the command has ever conducted and includes more than 60 aircraft from around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ryan Lackey)
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