Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: September, 2016 (12) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 12

September 1, 2016 at 10:02am

Building one cohesive unit

A U.S. Army soldier assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepares to board a C-130J for a static-line jump in support of Exercise Green Flag Little Rock 16-09, Aug. 18. Photo credit: Airman Kevin Sommer Giron

This event, referred to as Hit Night, marked the beginning of GFLR 16-09. Among the largest rotational air mobility training events in the world, is a realistic scenario-based training opportunity for the U.S. Air Force to interact with ground-force elements.

The emphasis of GFLR 16-09 was placed on strengthening the joint relationship between U.S. Air Mobility Command and the U.S. Army ground forces.

Throughout the weeklong exercise, AMC aircrews launched from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, to Intermediate Staging Base Alexandria, Louisiana, in support of U.S. Army operations at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

"We are here for our aircrews and the U.S. Army to receive the most accurate and realistic training as well as build our relationship in order to work together more cohesively and efficiently," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Bryant Jarrell, 34th Combat Training Squadron exercise director.

The mass static-line personnel drop marked the beginning of a one-of-a-kind joint service training event.

Six C-130s from Little Rock AFB and Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, flew alongside six C-17s from Charleston Air Force Base, North Carolina, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The fleet lined the sky as they dropped containment delivery systems bundles and hundreds of paratroopers onto the secured zone near Fort Polk.

With key cargo dropped ahead of them, the soldiers' first objective was to create a blocking position, securing the landing zone while keeping opposing forces at bay.

"Once they get the LZ secured," Jarrell said, "we can bring in follow-on cargo - beans, bullets and more fight or whatever they need - through landing procedures."

In total, AMC aircrews offloaded approximately 750 paratroopers, 491 tons of cargo and flew 29 sorties.

"The Air Force gets the job done on time, which is good because the faster they get us out there, the faster we can do our job on the ground," said U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Gardinier, 82nd Airborne Division forward observer. "All of my jumps have been off Air Force aircraft - this being my tenth jump."

Green Flag Little Rock provides the most realistic, tactical-level, joint-combat employment training, tailored to air mobility forces and U.S. Army needs. It also allows the crossflow of information to boost communications between branches.

"It's the Army's playground down here and a great training environment for us to utilize good airspace," Jerrell said. "We work with the Army consistently because they're the ones utilizing our aircraft in contingency operations. We depend on each other for land and air support, time-and-time again."

September 1, 2016 at 10:54am

62nd APS receives new weigh-in-motion system

A forklift drives across a weigh-in-motion system Aug. 23 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - The 62nd Aerial Port Squadron recently installed a new state-of-the-art weigh-in-motion system, which can record a vehicle's length, width, height, weight, number of axles and center of balance in a matter of seconds without the vehicle having to stop.

The 62nd APS received the WIMS to help expedite the time it takes to collect important data from a vehicle.

"This is a new system for us here at the port," said Tech. Sgt. Eric Hinton, 62nd APS air transportation technician. "It has some flaws as all new systems do, but it saves us a lot of time getting the numbers we need to do our job."

The system, which consists of two laser-enabled reading posts and a digital floor-pad sensor, takes real-time and accurate measurements required for unit's automated load-planning systems.

After all pieces have been processed, WIMS will output the data in a format that fielded logistics information technology systems can readily accept, thereby reducing measurement inaccuracies that occur from manually recording and entering the data.

"WIMS provides us accurate weight and dimensional data much more quickly than the manual methods normally used," said Hinton. "The old way, we had to drive the vehicle onto the scale and take a tape measure and go from the front of the vehicle to each axle, then do a bunch of math to get the data we needed."

Hinton said he thinks the addition of the new system will significantly improve operations.

"Before, it was taking ten to fifteen minutes to manually weigh and measure equipment," said Hinton. "Now it takes ten to fifteen seconds."

This sophisticated system took less than two weeks to get up and running.

The training for the WIMS took two days to complete and the 62nd APS currently has six airmen trained as instructors.

September 8, 2016 at 11:16am

Rainier Wing participates in Patriot Warrior exercise

Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron members from the 446th Airlift ‘Rainier’ Wing organize equipment for the annual Patriot Warrior exercise at Fort McCoy, Wis., August 9. Photo credit: Maj. Brooke Cortez

Joint Base Lewis-McChord - Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron members from the 446th Airlift ‘Rainier' Wing participated in the annual Patriot Warrior exercise at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 9 through Aug. 23.

In a C-17 Globemaster III flight carrying more than 100,000 pounds of equipment and personnel, Joint Base Lewis-McChord members arrived at the bare bones base to begin training.

Patriot Warrior is the Air Force Reserve Command's largest field exercise and is part of the Army's Global Medic exercise.

This joint and multinational exercise is designed for the participants to demonstrate their contingency deployment abilities ranging from base infrastructure buildup to full aeromedical evacuation operations.

The two-week-long exercise began with bare base conditions, and military members were challenged to turn the facilities into a fully functioning base able to accept medically evacuated wounded patients in mobile hospitals.

More than 11,000 members from the U.S. service branches and their Reserve components, including Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps, are participating alongside British, Canadian and Saudi Arabian forces during Patriot Warrior.

September 8, 2016 at 11:21am

Dedication to medical evacuation mission

Lt. Col. Lorie O’Daniel, 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, directs medical response to a simulated cardiac arrest situation. Photo credit: Maj. Brooke Cortez

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - The 446th "Rainier" Wing's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron undergoes constant training to be able to respond during any type of situation.

On a recent C-17 Globemaster III flight, Lt. Col. Lori O'Daniel, 446th AES deputy officer-in-charge of commander support services and instructor flight nurse, was able to train on currency requirements, including a simulated aircraft emergency and inflight medical emergencies.

Col. Sean Pierce, 446th Operations Group commander, served as a simulated patient during one of the training sessions during the flight.

"Colonel Pierce was a simulated patient who developed a cardiac event with respiratory and cardiac arrest," explained O'Daniel. "This allowed us to go through our Advanced Cardiac Life Support protocols, which are exactly the treatment protocols he would have received in an Emergency Department."

Pierce served 15 years in the Army, assigned in various leadership assignments as an AH-1, UH-1, CH-47 and UH-60 pilot, instructor, evaluator, test pilot and test pilot evaluator. A command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours, he transitioned to flying strategic airlift in the C-17.

"For me, medical evacuation missions are the most real and tangible operations you can be a part of," said Pierce. "The military has been supporting sustained wartime operations for nearly two decades, and being part of medevac missions has shown me firsthand how tremendously skilled and dedicated members of the Aeromedical Evacuation community are to their mission."

Other training conducted during the flight for the AES members included practicing on patient loads and offloads, setting-up oxygen, electrical, stanchions and emergency equipment.

O'Daniel is a traditional reservist who works as a post-surgical care nurse in day surgery and as a hyperbaric dive nurse in hyperbaric medicine for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I was prior enlisted in the AES as a medical technician with the 446th," she said. "I loved caring for patients inflight and providing medical transport."

Using her GI bill to get her nursing degree, she progressed to become a flight nurse and continued her military medical career.

The 446th AW provides 2,100 combat-ready citizen airmen to support worldwide airlift operations. From humanitarian aid to aeromedical evacuation, members of the Rainier Wing operate the C-17 Globemaster III in some of the most austere places in the world, including the Antarctic. 

September 8, 2016 at 11:34am

U.S. WADS defeats Canada

Pictured from left to right: Chief Master Sgt. Allan Lawson, Col. William Krueger, Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Rebstock, Canadian Lt. Col. Matthew Wappler, Canadian Warrant Officer Richard Martin, and Col. Gregor Leist. Photo credit: Kimberly D. Burke

Twice a year the Washington Air National Guard's Western Air Defense Sector holds a sports day where American and Canadian servicemembers assigned to the unit can engage in a friendly battle for superiority on the hockey ice and on the softball fields.

In February, the Canadian Detachment narrowly won the annual Hockey Classic by a score of 4-3 at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway.

The softball game was an opportunity just before the Labor Day holiday for the American's to exact revenge on the softball diamond.

"It is only fair for the Americans to choose a sport that they have a chance to win since they were not born with hockey skates on," said Canadian Warrant Officer Richard Martin.

"The Canadian's take playing hockey very seriously since it is their national pastime," said Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Rebstock, 225th Support Squadron superintendent. "They don't give us much slack on the ice."

"Though we do adjust the softball rules slightly for them in order to give them a fighting chance," Rebstock commented. "The Canadian Detachment only has 15 members assigned and they usually have to field players from their family ranks."

The amended rules included each team being limited to five runs per inning for a total of seven innings.

The softball game started with the traditional playing of the Canadian and U.S. National Anthems. The 225th Air Defense Group commander, Col. William Krueger, and the Canadian Detachment commander, Lt. Col. Matthew Wappler, simultaneously threw out the first pitch in order to symbolize the long-term partnership of Canada and the U.S. working side by side at the Western Air Defense Sector for more than 60 years.

The Canadians were holding their own until about the fifth inning when the American's really started to pull away, according to Chief Master Sgt. Allan Lawson, 225th Air Defense Squadron superintendent. The American's won decisively with a 22-7 score.

"Ultimately the main reason for the annual hockey and softball championships is to foster the continued partnership and espirt de corps between our countries while guarding America's skies 24/7," said Col. Gregor Leist, Western Air Defense Sector commander.

September 15, 2016 at 5:56pm

From homeless dropout to citizen airman

Senior Airman Troy Serad, an engineering assistant with the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron, sits near the edge of a cliff after hiking to Pyramid Rock, June 14, near Gallup, New Mexico. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hull

Most people can't fathom what it would be like to be homeless. Of the hundreds of thousands of people who are homeless in the U.S., one Rainier Wing reservist knows all too well.

"It was one of the toughest periods in my life," said Senior Airman Troy Serad, an engineering assistant assigned to the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron. "It was the beginning of my 10th grade year of high school and I dropped out. We went from place to place, sometimes staying with different family members. It was a bad time."

While this was a pivotal point in Serad's life, this story starts many years earlier.

Born in Texas, Serad's parents divorced when he was a toddler. His father moved to New York and his mother packed up his three brothers and him and moved to her home state of Washington.

"My mother didn't have many job skills but did what she had to in order to support us," said Serad. "She would work odd jobs and then got some training in the medical field. While working in a hospital she was assaulted by a patient and became disabled."

Because of her disability, many years of struggles for Serad and his family began.

"When I was eight years old I remember answering the door and a sheriff's deputy had delivered an eviction notice," said Serad. "For whatever reason, I would always receive the notices. I would take the eviction notice to my mom and she would always say that it would be all right. We moved about every six months but somehow my mom always found us another place to live."

"Things weren't right growing up," he said. "We were always dependent on the state, receiving food stamps and low-income housing."

As a result of the hardships Serad faced at home, his schooling suffered as well.

"When I was younger, it didn't matter if I went to school or not," said Serad. "I was frequently truant from school and my mom would always sign my notes. I was able to get good grades so I could make up whatever I missed."

As the difficulties of life continued for Serad, things went from bad to worse.

"When we lost our house, we moved around with different family members or friends," said Serad. "We were never out on the street sleeping, but we had to couch surf or stay at other people's houses. I was not in school. I was around bad role models."

By that time, his older brother Zackery had joined the military.

"When I dropped out of school my plan at the time was to get my GED and work for the railroad," said Serad. "It was definitely ambitious."

But Serad's older brother Zack, a Marine Corps combat veteran, knew he was always destined for more.

"I knew he was intelligent when he was very young but I always remember worrying about him," said Zachery Serad. "I always tried to make sure I was there for him, from the time I was in high school to fighting in Iraq.

When Zach found out that Serad had quit school he knew he had to do something.

"I told him straight up how I felt," said Zack. "I knew that his potential would only show through with an education or a lot of luck. Serad boys don't have much luck so education it was."

With some tough love from Zack, Serad stepped back onto the path of success.

"My older brother Zack always told me that I would be this very successful person and believed in me," said Serad. "I went back to school and the teachers bent over backwards to help me earn enough credits to graduate. I not only graduated with a high school diploma, but also an associate's degree."

Thanks to his brother and teachers that believed in him, Serad pushed himself to excel.

"Without my English teachers I wouldn't have made it," said Serad. "They expected better from me. It always felt great when my work was complimented and rewarded."

After high school, Serad continued with his education and earned his bachelor's degree in urban planning from the University of Washington.

Soon after starting a new job at Amtrak, Serad was ready for another great challenge - the Air Force Reserve.

"Airman Serad serves as a role model for the self-improvement opportunities available as well as his outstanding focus on high duty performance," said Lt. Col. Andrew Lafrazia, 446th CES commander. "His example will hopefully be a catalyst for others to see what education can accomplish."

Being a citizen airman has positively impacted Serad.

"The Air Force Reserve has been more than I expected," said Serad. "If you are not a part of the military you don't know what it's like. It rewards good work and promotes from within. There is a lot of value in what we do."

"I joined for the education and medical benefits, and to start something new," he said. "I also joined because of the pride I have in my brother being a Marine Corps veteran. Lastly, I wanted to prove to myself I could do it."

Sharing his experience as a reservist to troubled teens is a passion for him.

"As an airman I have been able to influence and enlighten what the military does in a positive way," said Serad. "Lately, I have been working with a couple of high school students who are considered to be youth at-risk. I have been encouraging them about the benefits of the military and what it has to offer."

Like his English teachers, his CE leadership expects Serad to Excel.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see him take on a significant challenge educationally, such as an advanced degree, or professionally such as a city planner, congressman or entrepreneur, said Lafrazia. "Whatever direction he takes, I'm glad to have him in my unit."

Currently Serad is studying for the Law School Admission Test in pursuit of earning a law degree.

"Having this background has made me what I am today," said Serad. "My dream job would be a senator or congressman; to be a representative of the people. I have this desire to help others."

September 19, 2016 at 8:45am

5th ASOS wins base golf championship

Shane Hobrecht, of 5th ASOS, right, and Matthew Horgan watch Hobrecht’s approach shot to the first hole at Whispering Firs Golf Course. (JBLM PAO photo)

Having knowledge of the course can lead to a successful round of golf. It was true for the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron as the unit was able to hold off the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron by six total strokes during the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander’s Cup Golf Championship Monday at Whispering Firs Golf Course on McChord Field.

Five teams of four golfers each were split into pairs to play a best-ball format through all 18 holes. Shane Hobrecht and Matthew Horgan of 5th ASOS had the best overall team score with a round of 78 — only six over the course’s par. Both men admitted they could have played a better round and were saved by recovery shots.

“We were missing the fairways for most of the round until the last three holes,” Hobrecht said. “It was mostly recovery shots and a couple of good putts.”

Even the B duo for 5th ASOS — Ray Anderson and Doug Kesler — admitted they had troubles on the course. Although they finished with a round of 82 that was tied for the second best score by any duo, they said they felt they could have easily scored closer to Hobrectht’s and Horgan’s round.

“We would have bad holes together, and we would have good holes together,” Anderson said. “He didn’t make any putts, and I couldn’t hit any fairways.”

Being an Air Force unit means having some familiarity with Whispering Firs. Although the 5th ASOS’s office is located on Lewis Main, the unit often plays rounds of golf on Whispering Firs.

Playing the entire golf season at Whispering Firs might have also helped. The 5th ASOS team was able to focus its approach shots toward the stronger sides of the greens — avoiding hazards like water and sand.

“We knew where to play the greens, even when we were recovering,” Hobrecht said.

The 62nd APS also had some good games with Roy Pilipovich and Keith White teaming up for a round of 82, followed up with a round of 84 by the team of David McHugo and Patrick Wagnon — perhaps not bad

for a team that could have been out of the original playoff picture.

Historically, the JBLM Commander’s Cup Golf Championship was meant to be contested among four teams. While 5th ASOS finished the regular season first with 12.5 match points and 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron finished with 11.5 points, three teams finished tied with 11 points.

The decision was made to have the teams representing 62nd Maintenance Squadron, 62nd Medical Brigade and 62nd APS advance to the championship round.

The 5th ASOS team was able to get a championship win, which was big for a unit that hasn’t been able to get the same participation for intramural sports as it did last year — contending for the Commander’s Cup that eventually went to the 47th Combat Support Hospital.

It does help build confidence moving toward next year, when the unit hopes to get more teams and more championships, Horgan said.

“We missed a couple of sports, so we’re in a rebuild year,” he said.

Golf tournament final results

1) 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, 160 (+16); 2) 62nd Aerial Port Squadron, 166 (+22); 3) 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 174 (+30); 4) 62nd Maintenance Squadron, 177 (+33); 5) 62nd Medical Brigade, 181 (+37)

1) 5th ASOS — Shane Hobrecht/Matthew Horgan, 78 (+6); Ray Anderson/Doug Kesler, 82 (+10). Total

2) 62nd APS — Roy Pilipovich/Keith White, 82 (+10); David McHugo/Patrick Wagnon, 84 (+12)

3) 62nd AMXS — Don Tilley/Mark Littlejohn, 85 (+13); Craig Hoebeke/Andrew Lamont, 89 (+17)

4) 62nd MXS — Shane Meyer/Anthony Vigil, 83 (+11); Jess Edmiston/Andrew Johnson, 94 (+22)

5) 62nd Med. Bde. — Gene Quitugua/Jason Van Gilder, 86 (+14); Brad Sonoda/Chris Williams, 95 (+23)

September 22, 2016 at 3:56pm

Team McChord airmen honor POW/MIAs

Team McChord servicemembers perform a toast during the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Remembrance luncheon Sept. 16 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Team McChord airmen teamed up with the Air Force Sergeants Association to honor and remember prisoners of war and those missing in action during the POW/MIA Remembrance week Sept. 12 through 16 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The annual event kicked off Sept. 12 with a wreath laying ceremony and concluded on National POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 16. With planning taking place more than seven months in advance, each of the week's events were highly attended.

"These are huge events; we had more than 100 volunteers put this together," said Master Sgt. Brandy Hite, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant and this year's POW/MIA event coordinator. "Airmen are more than happy to help support these events and getting volunteers is never a problem."  

The wreath laying ceremony was held at Memorial Grove Garden on McChord Field and offered airmen the opportunity to hear former POWs speak about their war experiences and to remember those who have passed.

"This is the one time of the year we take time to remember those who never came home," said Hite. "This resonates with every servicemember."     

Tuesday's event kicked off with the rumbling of airmen's motorcycles as they rode across McChord Field. More than 20 servicemembers met at Memorial Grove before departing the base together on a group ride to honor POW/MIAs.

"We had phenomenal participation in every event," said Hite. "This is important to everybody."

Following the memorial motorcycle ride, airmen pitched their tents and laid out sleeping bags at the McChord Field track Wednesday morning to prepare for the POW/MIA 24-hour Run. The run kicked off at 8 a.m. and concluded Thursday morning at 8 a.m. More than 250 Team McChord airmen participated, running a cumulative total of 5,397 miles.

"None of us can begin to understand what our POWs have experienced," said Col. Stephen Snelson, 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander. "Hopefully events like this help us to honor and reflect upon their great sacrifice."    

The week's event concluded with the POW/MIA luncheon, allowing airmen to dine with former POWs and toast to their sacrifice.

"They (former POWs) love coming out here to be a part of this," said Hite. "I think they really love the opportunity to tell their story."

The luncheon honored 12 former POWs and all POW/MIA with a POW/MIA table presentation.

"This week gave everyone an opportunity to pause, reflect and remember," said Hite. "You look at everyone's face at the events and you can see that this important to every airman."

September 23, 2016 at 11:07am

Citizen airman supports KC-46A Pegasus missions

Senior Airman Victoria Montgomery, an inventory management journeyman with the 446th Logistics Readiness Squadron, takes inventory of overboots July 9 in the base warehouse at McChord Field. Photo credit: Master Sgt. Minnette Mason

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - When Senior Airman Victoria Montgomery joined the 446th Logistics Readiness Flight at McChord Field, she didn't anticipate supporting a mission that led to the initial production lot of the Air Force's newest refueling tanker - the KC-46A Pegasus.

Montgomery integrated with the 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron here and helped to build and maintain readiness spares packages for refueling demonstrations, which were necessary before the KC-46A Pegasus program received approval to enter into production Aug. 12.

Readiness spares packages, or RSPs, include supplies and parts that are packaged, maintained and ready for rapid global deployment to support aircraft maintenance. Montgomery was part of the team that provided RSP support for the F-16 Fighting Falcons, one of three aircraft that were refueled off the boom by the KC-46A Pegasus. She's been working alongside active-duty counterparts since last November.

Montgomery contributed to two low-rate initial production lots, totaling 19 aircraft and associated spare parts. According to a recent article published by the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, contracts will soon be awarded to Boeing for a "pre-negotiated $2.8 billion combined value.

"The first aircraft deliveries will be to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and Altus AFB, Oklahoma. A total of eighteen tankers are scheduled to be delivered by early 2018."

As a traditional reservist, Montgomery participated in monthly unit training assemblies, or UTAs, and other annual training requirements with the 446th LRF. Outside of her military commitment, she was a full-time college student seeking a career as a nurse anesthetist. However, when the opportunity arose for Montgomery to gain more experience as an inventory management journeyman, she quickly volunteered to contribute more time to the Air Force.

"My main goal is to become more competent all the way around," she said. "I have been moving from one section to another, but I want to have a higher level of knowledge and be proficient at my job."

Assisting with the KC-46A Pegasus mission wasn't the only total force integration opportunity for Montgomery. She also partnered with the 62nd LRS after graduating from initial skills training in September 2014 as part of the Air Force Reserve Seasoning Training Program.

"I enjoy working with the active-duty," Montgomery said. "I feel like there's a lot that I could learn; I already have learned a lot from them. They treat me just like one of them."

Reservists who participate in the STP volunteer to remain on active-duty to receive on-the-job training. Staff Sgt. Jimmie High, with the 62nd LRS, is the NCO in charge of readiness spares package and played a role in Montgomery's upgrade training.

"If we deploy with reservists and they haven't interacted with active-duty, it's like two worlds meeting," High said. "We're able to bridge that gap, and I think a lot of people don't get that. So it definitely helps with transition."

September 29, 2016 at 12:21pm

McChord hosts Mobility Guardian prep

Members of the 62nd Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command, and international mission partners, prepare to depart Joint Base Lewis-McChord via a C-17 Globemaster III Sept. 21. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - 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.

Mobility Guardian is AMC's next generation exercise. It is a re-build of Rodeo on a larger scale and will be occurring August 2017.  

Lt. Col. Dan DeYoung, JBLM 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."


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