Mobility Guardian, AMC’s premier exercise

A loadmaster from the 15th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. loads cargo onto a C-17 July 23, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Eight Little Rock C-130Js will travel alongside the C-17 aircrew to participate in Mobility Guardian 2017, a massive joint exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Harry Brexel)

A loadmaster from the 15th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. loads cargo onto a C-17 July 23, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Eight Little Rock C-130Js will travel alongside the C-17 aircrew to participate in Mobility Guardian 2017, a massive joint exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Harry Brexel)

Senior Airman Troy Iversen, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial delivery rigger, secures baggage cargo onto a pallet July 20, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. More than 3,000 Air Mobility Command Airmen will travel to Washington in order to participate in Mobility Guardian 2017, a massive exercise testing airlift and airdrop capabilities alongside 25 international partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Harry Brexel)

Senior Airman Troy Iversen, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial delivery rigger, secures baggage cargo onto a pallet July 20, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. More than 3,000 Air Mobility Command Airmen will travel to Washington in order to participate in Mobility Guardian 2017, a massive exercise testing airlift and airdrop capabilities alongside 25 international partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Harry Brexel)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Train like we fight is the focus of the inaugural iteration of the largest scale exercise that Air Mobility Command has ever undertaken.

Mobility Guardian will feature over 3,000 personnel, including 25 international countries from July 31 to August 11 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.  

“Our ability to move national power to any location is key to the security of the United States,” said General Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander. “Mobility Airmen are often the first to arrive and the last to depart. They provide continuous support to the joint warfighter. Simply put, success requires our Total Force team of mobility Airmen to work together with joint and international partners.  Exercising our capabilities together is critical so when we are called upon, we can deliver quickly and precisely.”   

Exercise Mobility Guardian is designed to enhance the capabilities of mobility Airmen by preparing them to succeed in the dynamic threat environments of today and tomorrow. 

“We’re creating an exercise that will encompass everything AMC does,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Wagner, Mobility Guardian Director. “We basically took every skillset from AMC and said, ‘what would the ideal exercise for each of our different mission sets look like?’ Then we combined them all into one.” 

The exercise is about strengthening partnerships, discovery, learning and improving together as an integrated team, according to officials. Mobility
Guardian will provide Mobility Airmen an opportunity to work with joint services, international partners and industry. 

This exercise is being conducted with mobility aircraft heavily involved in the war against the Islamic State and employed worldwide to deliver hope to those in need. The Combat Air Forces are supporting the exercises with an array of fighter and bomber capability to include F-35s, F-16s, A-10s, F-15Es, F-15Cs, B-52s and the B-2.    

“We’re trying to challenge mobility Airmen to improve skillsets that they either may have not worked on recently or have experienced at all,” said 1st Lt. Michael McCarthy, Mobility Guardian planner. “Any Combat Air Forces involvement is to simulate what we would see real-world but really push these members to the limits within the safe parameters of what they’re capable of.”   

Training in preparation for the exercise has been left to individual units. Unlike AMC Rodeo, a competition, Exercise Mobility Guardian is less about showcasing skills and rather creating a comprehensive, realistic and complex training environment. 

This exercise is about developing new skills and spreading knowledge among Airmen as they work alongside our international partners, said McCarthy. 

Throughout the exercise, teams will make observations and gather metrics that will be passed to AMC leadership to develop an appropriate site picture of the MAF’s capabilities. They will also compile lessons learned for areas that need improvement, post-exercise. 

Planning and coordination has taken roughly two years and has involved the work of several career fields to include all core functions of AMC.  

Interest for the exercise has completely exceeded expectations as registration closed July 11 due to an overwhelming response. 

“We’ve built something really fantastic and I think people are responding to that,” said Wagner. “We’re getting people calling all of the time saying that they want to be a part of this.”