Mobility Air Forces, Combat Air Forces operate together during Mobility Guardian
By Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan
/ Published August 11, 2017
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Exercise Mobility Guardian highlighted the close relationship between Mobility and Combat Air Forces, who teamed up to execute approximately 90 sorties together, July 31 to Aug. 12, 2017.
The exercise provided the MAF and CAF opportunities to integrate combat capabilities in a dynamic, highly contested environment to help ensure future mission success at both the tactical and strategic level.
“Everything that Air Combat Command does, we do on the back of Mobility forces,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of ACC. “We’re a global Air Force, and we’re a global Air Force because we can pick up and move wherever we need to and know that we can be there quickly with everything we need to operate. Without AMC, we’d be a regional Air Force.”
Mobility Guardian enabled personnel to interact and train together in realistic scenarios. Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lt. William Powell, Weapons and Tactics assistant chief assigned to the 389th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, acted as the F-15E liaison officer during Mobility Guardian. Powell is currently serving a three-year exchange assignment between the RAAF and the U.S. Air Force, giving him a unique perspective on the exercise.
“For the missions being undertaken by AMC during Mobility Guardian, reliable fighter support is critical to ensure force survival and mission success,” Powell said.
“Mobility Guardian has been a great opportunity for our F-15E crews to plan and execute missions with AMC,” he continued. “We rarely have the opportunity to train together tactically, so we have learned some great lessons, and it has provided valuable experience for our aircrew.”
Earlier this year, Atlantic Trident, a CAF exercise, was hosted at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. It hosted modern fighter aircraft from three nations. Holmes stressed the importance of having these types of exercises to learn how to best operate with international partners.
“We’re fortunate to have really capable international partners that we can rely on to work together,” said Holmes. “The mobility equivalent of [Atlantic Trident] is to bring our modern airlifters [and tankers] together and see how we operate.
“If we’re going to partner our air forces, we need to be interoperable, and an exercise like this is a great opportunity to learn about that and get better at it,” he explained. “It’s great to have that partnership, and it means I can rely on not just our mobility assets, but the worldwide partners’ mobility assets.”
In addition to ACC and AMC assets working together, international and sister services also partnered for Mobility Guardian.
One such example involved RAAF Airbus A330 MRTT boom operators becoming certified on refueling fighter aircraft. This will enable them to do so in deployed locations and further enhance coalition forces’ warfighting capabilities.
Aircraft involved in the exercise included A-10 Warthogs assigned to the 124th Fighter Wing, Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Boise, Idaho; U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 129, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Puget Sound; F-15C Eagles assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland ANGB, Oregon; F-16C Fighting Falcons and F-35 Lightning IIs assigned to Hill Air Force Base, Utah; F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to Mountain Home AFB; and Air Force Global Strike Command B-2 Stealth Bombers and B-52 Stratofortresses.