McChord hosts International Partners for Mobility Guardian prep

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 62nd Airlift Wing hosted more than 20 air crew members from Belgium, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada, Taiwan, Brazil and Australia Sept. 21, as part of Air Mobility Command’s Mobility Guardian in progress review at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Mobility Guardian is AMC’s next generation exercise. It is a re-build of Rodeo on a larger scale and is scheduled for Aug. 2017.  

Lt. Col. Dan DeYoung, Joint Base Lewis-McChord director for Mobility Guardian, said the group here this week is conducting a sort of walk through for the logistics.

“It’s a planning conference basically,” DeYoung said. “This one is focused on how to integrate our international participants into next year’s exercise.”

Next year these international partners will be flying their own aircraft and crews out here to participate.

In the past, Rodeo included international partners as competitors, but this year they will serve more as joint forces.

“This is the premier exercise for Mobility Air Forces [or the MAF as it is commonly referred to]” said DeYoung. “We are exercising every aspect of what we provide as the Mobility Air Forces – air drop, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, air land, strategic or tactical, joint forcible entry and contingency response.”

JBLM will serve as the primary hub for operations for Mobility Guardian, which means planning for the exercise is being conducted largely out of the base.

“It is very complex to plan an exercise of this scale,” DeYoung said. “We’ve spent a good part of this year planning and over the course of the next year we will be planning the two-week exercise.”

There is a reason why so much time is being invested in Mobility Guardian and it’s because of its magnitude and impact.

“This is going to be a train-like-you-fight exercise,” added DeYoung. “This will test us to be more prepared and the scenario that’s being created is one that is plausible. We are exercising our capabilities in Mobility Guardian, where in the past we have served more as support, others will be supporting us.”

Royal New Zealand Air Force Flight Lt. Juliet Foster said she was overwhelmed with the size of the base, but that she typically is, because the RNZAF only has approximately 3,000 members total.

“I think it’s going to be a phenomenal exercise,” said Foster. “It’s much bigger scale than what we’re used to, but we will have the ability to cater to anything we want to train for.

She also explained how significant it is for us as coalition forces to train together.

“It’s important for us to work together, because it’s practical,” Foster said. “As an Air Force we’re so small, so we’re usually operating overseas with other nations. And having good relationships with America, Canada, the U.K., Australia and all the other nations here is really important, because knowing who to talk to during operations is important and this is the forum for it.”