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Mobility Guardian Phase 2 begins

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- The second half of Exercise Mobility Guardian began Aug. 6, 2017, and will focus on training aircrew on advanced tactical air operations.

Following the successful execution of the joint forcible entry, ground forces established control over Moses Lake, which enabled the transition to sustainment operations.

“Mobility Guardian has tested our ability to prepare and deliver the force,” said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, commander of Air Mobility Command. “Now it will test our ability to sustain the force and, after the mission is over, ensure the joint force returns home.”

The Army’s 62nd Medical Brigade enabled the first step in the sustainment phase, said Air Force Lt. Col. Jeremy Wagner, the Mobility Guardian director. The brigade executed humanitarian relief operations after the 82nd Airborne Division accomplished a joint forcible entry and seized the airfield at Moses Lake. From there, components of the 7th Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team, took over the airfield and established their power projection.

These movements enabled the 621st Contingency Response Wing to begin air base opening operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Moses Lake and Yakima, Washington.

International teams working with ground forces will also provide force protection during the sustainment phase. The Number 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, one of the international teams, will provide airfield security for the 621st CRW.

“They are force multipliers,” said Wagner. “They’ve been very involved and have shown how capable they are as our partners.”

International teams will remain integrated during the 500-plus flights that were planned in support of Mobility Guardian, said Wagner. During the sustainment phase, aircraft will continue to deliver materials to support the ground forces’ humanitarian efforts, but the air operations are expected to become more difficult.

“We’ve been airdropping an incredible amount of equipment to some of the displaced humanitarian relief operations” said Wagner. “Now it mostly focuses on getting advanced tactical training for our aircrews. When we’re done with that, we can start heading home.”

This training includes air drops in difficult locations, opportunities to test practice threat systems that detect ground enemies and C-130 Hercules wet-wing defueling, Wagner added.

For Everhart, this advanced exercise is a testament of the abilities that U.S. and international service members provide the global response force.

“Global reach is not a birthright for America; it requires hard work, preparation, investment and training,” said Everhart. “Mobility Guardian offers our Airmen vital experience to excel in any environment, applying lessons learned from years of war to deliver a realistic and challenging training environment for not only the Air Force but our joint and international partners as well.”