The skies of South Sound have been filled with military planes this week, part of a “power projection” military exercise.
The event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is called “Mobility Guardian.” It has drawn 3,000 airmen, joint military forces and dozens of international partners.
It’s designed to let the cargo crews and refueling jets that make up the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command test themselves in an elaborate, 13-day exercise that would mimic both an armed conflict and delivery of humanitarian relief.
“We’ll train like we fight,” Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, the commander of Air Mobility Command, told The News Tribune in 2016.
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The inaugural exercise began July 31 and will last through Aug. 12.
Plans for the event had 100 sorties a day being flown out of JBLM.
Though Scott Air Force Base in Illinois is the Command’s headquarters, McChord is hosting the event. Fairchild Air Force Base, the Yakima Training Center and other Washington locales are involved, according to military.com.
“There is no better location than Joint Base Lewis-McChord for this joint and allied partner ground-breaking Mobility Guardian exercise,” said Col. Leonard Kosinski, former 62nd Airlift Wing Commander. “We are a strategic power projection platform and can leverage the incredible military capabilities in the Pacific Northwest ranging from Special Operations units, nearby Naval assets, Washington National Guard, and premier partnership efforts like the Army’s I Corps Pacific Pathways.”
Mobility Guardian replaces the low-key military competition called an air mobility rodeo that used to pull airmen to from as far away as Pakistan and Israel.