Mobility Exercise enhances community, international partnerships

By Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander on September 7, 2017

Air Mobility Command recently completed a very successful Exercise Mobility Guardian. The exercise, involving 30-plus nations and more than 3,000 exercise participants, challenged U.S. and partner militaries to "Train like We Fight" with outstanding support from the Spokane, Yakima, Tacoma and Seattle communities who served as our hosts.

The exercise tested our total force airmen on the "Core 4" Air Mobility Command missions of aerial refueling, airlift, aeromedical evacuation and mobility support.

The Air Mobility Command mission is diverse, impacting national security while contributing to how various communities view mobility operations. Recognizing this, we added another dynamic to the exercise: robust interaction with news media and the community.

In today's defense environment, the media and community are intertwined in our operations and demand an understanding of what the military is charged to do. Engaging both is a national imperative that ensures we hold ourselves accountable to our airmen, the American people and international partners.

I think the necessity of engaging the press in these activities is well understood. However, incorporating civic leaders and the communities we serve, both domestically and internationally, is equally important. Engagement presents tangible benefits for our mission, airmen and their families, leading to stronger mission partnerships. The military and our families rely on these partnerships during the good times, and under challenging circumstances when natural disaster strikes or world situations require evacuation.

So why is it important for civic leaders and communities to become immersed in the Air Force and mobility air forces mission set?

A few benefits include an enhanced:

When communities have a sense of pride and awareness of the impact of military operations, it results in stronger, supportive military-friendly environments. Supportive military communities make airmen and their families feel valued, welcomed and create a desire for them to stay in the Air Force.

Informing civic leaders about national defense roles, responsibilities, and impacts can also lead to enhanced national defense dialogue on the demands the military faces. Exposure to these topics leads to informed national and local decision-making ensuring we remain accountable to those we serve.

Transparency and a culture of engagement in Air Mobility Command is critically important to me. Our airmen deserve it and so do our community partners. Investment in educating community partners results in established trust and access. This trust is critically important when the Air Force navigates concerns about noise from our aircraft or environmental challenges.

It is important America understands the value we place on integrity, service and excellence -- the effects of what our airmen deliver for the nation deserves nothing less. I expect my commanders to be actively engaged in the community and to help build a strong team to ensure mission success and strong support networks.

At Mobility Guardian, the military-community partnership was on full display. The value of this exercise exceeded traditional military objectives, it factored in the total force team required to win our nation's wars -- our military, international and community partners. The Spokane, Yakima, Tacoma and Seattle communities aced the challenge and understand the role they serve in enabling a power projection platform for America.