Military aviators from across the world in Washington for joint training exercise this month

An Air Force training exercise designed to keep the United States and its allies ready for conflict began Sunday in the skies over Washington.

Mobility Guardian will run through Sept. 28 and provide a realistic training environment for more than 2,500 U.S. military personnel and international partners, according to the Air Force.

The exercise is designed to hone the skills of airmen from 47 U.S. air wings and 26 foreign allies and partners. Efforts to determine participating units from Joint Base Lewis-McChord were unsuccessful.

The exercises include an medical evacuation scenario.

This year’s exercise is hosted by the 92nd and 141st Air Refueling Wings located at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane. Mobility Guardian 2017 was based at JBLM.

“This exercise promotes globally-minded mobility operations through partnerships,” said Gen. Maryanne Miller, Air Mobility commander. “We’ll bring together partners from more than two dozen nations to train like we fight, while enhancing the vital relationships we rely on to accomplish the mission.”

More than 60 aircraft comprised of 10 different kinds are participating in the exercise.

“Our mobility airmen are always ready and we continue to exercise them to keep our competitive edge,” Miller said.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.