Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

August 4, 2017 at 11:00am

U.S., multiple nations partner for Mobility Guardian

Over 650 international servicemembers will work alongside more than 3,000 U.S. servicemembers during Mobility Guardian across Washington State from July 31 to Aug. 12. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Jodi Martinez

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Nearly 30 partner nations are participating alongside the U.S. during Air Mobility Command's Mobility Guardian, which runs across Washington State through Aug. 12.

The exercise aims to enhance the U.S. military's global response force by integrating in complex, realistic mobility training with partner nations.

Fully-integrated events during the exercise will allow for strategic interoperability in support of real-world operations, said Maj. Thomas Rich, Joint Task Force director of operations for Mobility Guardian.

"We're pushing the tactical edge," said Rich. "We're putting aircraft from different nations close together in a tight air space in a dynamic threat environment. There's a little bit of inherent risk in that, but that's what we want to do here so that everybody is ready when we do it for real."

More than 650 international military personnel and 3,000 U.S. military servicemembers will focus on AMC's four core competencies during the exercise, which include airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and air mobility support, said Col. Clinton Zumbrunnen, the international observer mission commander for Mobility Guardian.

Zumbrunnen hopes Mobility Guardian, which is planned to be held biennially, will attract additional allies to attend and will encourage observers to return as participants in the future.

Col. Jose Antonio Morales, Brazilian air force's 5th Wing training commander, mirrors this hope for his own country.

"We are trying to arrange a lot of new exercises and interchanges between our countries," said Morales. "We are all so proud to represent our country and our air force and participate in this very important exercise."

Some of the scheduled events include formations between the U.S., Brazil and Colombia, and a joint forcible entry from an intelligence alliance comprised of the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.

Capt. Patrick Rodrigue, Canadian Forces Aeromedical Evacuation Unit flight nurse, offered his take on the upcoming exercise upon arrival at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"It's very important for us to get out there and actually practice our mission and get to practice our capacity as well as joint interoperability," said Rodrique.

Those nations observing also play a vital role by strengthening partnerships with the U.S. and becoming familiarized with U.S. training, tactics and procedures. Zumbrunnen said observers will be paired with U.S. crew members to see as much of the air mobility process as safely and securely as possible.

It's a test of how we operate with interoperability and also gives us the opportunity to build relationships, he said.

Mobility Guardian will focus on training both junior and senior Air Force airmen to operate alongside international servicemembers. To Rich, this maximizes the efficiency of the entire Air Force and its interoperability during real-world contingencies.

For Zumbrunnen the effort to enhance unrivaled power projection capabilities is not possible without the help of U.S. allies.

"I have not deployed anywhere or gone anywhere in my duty as an airlift pilot where there was not an international presence," said Zumbrunnen.

Zumbrunnen believes the ability for the U.S. to gain and fight alongside its allies is an unrivaled asset.

Mobility Guardian offers an avenue for testing the full spectrum of AMC capabilities. It also incorporates opportunities to exchange mobility expertise with international counterparts to create world-wide impact.

The U.S. does not go to war without allies, said Rich, so it's important that Mobility Guardian develops our ability to power project when and where needed.

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