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Mobility forces enable joint forcible entry exercise

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- Air mobility forces partnered with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division for a joint forcible entry exercise Aug. 2, 2017, at both Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Moses Lake as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian.

Thirteen C-17 Globemaster III’s, 19 C-130 Hercules and 10 air refueling aircraft from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England enabled the mission, said Air Force Lt. Col. Judd Baker, the 43rd Operations Support Squadron commander, Pope Field, North Carolina.

Personnel from the 82nd ABN, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group, Pope Field, prepared and inspected heavy cargo to ensure it was airworthy prior to the mission, he added.

During the operation, partnerships between the Air Force and the Army were capitalized on to airdrop equipment and 377 Soldiers into an austere airfield at Moses Lake to exercise the global response force.

“Every time there’s an airborne assault, we’re using the Air Force,” said Army Lt. Col. Ricky Taylor, the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment battalion commander. “The joint planning and collaboration between the staffs and the commands is imperative. “We have a good working relationship, but we always need to hone our planning processes and overall skills. What we don’t want is atrophy throughout the force.”

Once the 82nd ABN secured the airfield, they transitioned control to 821st Contingency Response Group personnel, who then began air base opening operations to safely land aircraft at the site. Exercises of this nature help ensure the branches are able to operate together seamlessly in real-world situations.

“Practice makes perfect, and that’s why we need this kind of exercise,” said Air Force Maj. Ryan Strength, a 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron air mobility liaison officer. “Not everything goes as planned the first time, and the way we find that out is through execution. We’re not going to find all the limiting factors to any kind of scenario unless we actually practice it. You can always get better at something, and the more opportunities we have to train, the better equipped we’re going to be for when we’re actually fighting a war.”