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Foundation set for AMC’s “winning scheme of maneuver” debut to the Pacific

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jodi Martinez
  • Air Mobility Command

Air Mobility Command culminated its five-day mid-planning conference for Mobility Guardian 2023 on Feb. 17, moving forward with plans to substantiate the command’s winning scheme of maneuver in the Pacific.

Approximately 180 representatives from seven nations, the Department of State, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Headquarters Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marines contributed to MG23 development at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

“Coming together like this is a show of unity and a show of resolve,” said Lt. Gen. Randall Reed, AMC deputy commander. “It is a collection of those around the world who really believe in freedom.”

The MAF exercise will nest under a series of exercises led by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and allow like-minded nations to deepen trust and realistic interoperability on security challenges in the region.

"Mobility Guardian is the cohesive glue that enables Indo-Pacific Command's Large Scale Global Exercise this summer," said Lt. Col. Jacob Parker, Mobility Guardian 23 Director. "We're providing the meaningful maneuver for the combined Joint and Coalition forces exercising together in theater."

MG23’s inaugural debut to the Pacific theater includes complex integration with allied and partner nations testing the Mobility Air Force’s large-force, agile combat employment and humanitarian and disaster assistance in contested and degraded environments spanning over 3,000 miles. 

“There’s a tremendous amount of airspace and real estate out there that is only covered by those who really dare to be out there,” Reed said. “The fact that – in a very short amount of time – our joint and coalition partners have come together to reduce that [lack of coverage] into something we can address is nothing short of impressive.”

MG23’s direction is a clear shift from the exercise’s previous three state-side iterations, but its difference is not solely due to the theater in which it will operate in July.

As far as AMC Commander Gen. Mike Minihan is concerned, MG23 is already underway.

Mobility Airmen are expected to challenge the status quo and expand what it means to be ready, integrated, and agile against potential adversary action prior to MG23 execution. MG23 is designed to demonstrate the command’s high-value credibility, dependability, and indispensable nature to the joint force, partner nations, and global operations at large. 

During the October 2022 Airlift/Tanker Association Symposium, Minihan asserted the joint force is not as ready, as integrated, and as agile as they think. Mobility Airmen have to put in the work for MG23 to be a proving ground that demonstrates how mobility is the lynchpin to success in the Pacific.

He then called thousands of Airmen to attention and gave his direction to MAF Airmen to set the tempo and tone toward MG23. 

“Don’t hold back; move forward,” Minihan said. “All of this [planning] is meaningless if you don’t back it up with action – Let’s Go!”

Joint Base Charleston was one of the first bases to move on Minihan’s orders. In January, the base conducted the largest-ever C-17 Globemaster III launch from a single base, demonstrating the ability to rapidly generate and project overwhelming airpower alongside Army and joint partners.

In February, Fairchild Air Force Base coordinated with members from the Royal Australian Air Force and Darwin International Airport Fire & Rescue personnel to conduct the first-ever KC-135 Stratotanker hot-pit refueling in Australia.

Other examples of surpassing previously known MAF limits includes a record-breaking, 16,000-mile endurance mission and KC-46A limited crew operations. These demonstrations create decision space and advantage that increases survivability and generates combat power.

“Let the culture that already exists in the region continue to thrive, which pursues peace,” Reed said. “That’s what we’re after.”

The focused tenacity of the command preparing for MG23 will ensure mobility Airmen are ready for any scenario.

The final planning conference later this spring will layer the last operational details needed to deliver the largest mobility exercise in the command’s history.