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OCTs train, assess mobility Airmen throughout MG19

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Air Mobility Command has dedicated the majority of September 2019 bringing together Airmen from across the globe for Exercise Mobility Guardian, the command’s largest mobility exercise.

Nearly 30 Airmen from the 34th Combat Training Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, augmented a team of about 100 observers, coaches and trainers from different units to share their knowledge during the exercise deliberately developing Airmen to become joint-minded mobility leaders for the future Air Force.

“Exercises like this are going to provide a realistic environment for the service to get a true look at their capabilities,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Joyner, 34th CTS commander. “If we are going to invest in exercises like this, we have to make sure we prioritize where we need to improve and revamp for future training with our joint and international partners in order to execute tomorrows fight.”

As part of the Advanced Operational Node Team, OCTs brought cargo commonly found downrange such as Humvees to prepare the exercise play area for loads not typically done at home station. Along with those provisions, they brought knowledge and experience needed to train Ready Warriors.

“The whole idea of this exercise is to bring people together, learn something new, make each Airmen stronger, find their weaknesses, capitalize on those while using your strengths, and pass them on to others,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan O’Learly, 34th CTS mission support planner. “It’s very important for Airmen to participate and create a ready force to compete, deter and ultimately win.”

MG19 was designed for Airmen to fight as a Total Force alongside joint and international partners. While exercising, the Airmen are being assessed by the OCTs so senior leadership can continue to better the simulated, contested environment to keep their competitive edge.

“We provide our feedback directly to the players in the form of end-of-phase briefs, and we provide it to AMC headquarters leadership,” Joyner said. “There needs to be a formal mechanism that provides performance assessments back to senior leaders so they can then make decisions on training, investments, and skill priority for what we want to get after as a force.”

When the exercise began phase III, about 281 assessments had been completed with many more to come. The 34th CTS along with OCTs from other units evaluate members during flights, aerial port procedures, air medical evacuations, contingency responses and maintenance operations.

As the moving parts of Mobility Guardian wind down, the OCTs step back to look at the importance of the exercise beyond the assessments and focus more on the opportunities and knowledge each Airman can take back to home station.

“MG19 highlights a lot of what Airmen need to know, especially when some of them are right out of tech school,” O’Leary said. “That’s going to set them up to broaden their knowledge and prepare them to think on their own, act on their own and make good decisions. If Airmen are going to learn the hard way, it’s best they learn it here to better the future of the Air Force.”