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Thousands of airmen spread across the Pacific in large-scale multinational mobility exercise

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

More than 1,000 U.S. forces, allies and partners are operating out of Guam for a large-scale mobility exercise.

Exercise Mobility Guardian 2023, Air Mobility Command’s largest full-spectrum readiness exercise in the command’s history, began July 5 in the Indo-Pacific region.

This year’s MG23 reflects an evolution from the exercise’s previous three U.S.-based iterations and aims to understand and overcome the tyranny of distance to deliver the mobilization, deployment and sustainment functions that the joint force, allies and partners depend on to respond to challenges worldwide.

“It should be evident by now that the success of the Joint Force requires a capable and integrated Mobility Air Force,” said Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander. “MG23 will turn planned integration into operational integration within the theater, stretching MAF capabilities to meet future demands and protect shared international interests with our Allies and partners.”

A multinational endeavor, MG23 features seven participating countries – Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States – operating approximately 70 mobility aircraft across multiple locations spanning a 3,000-mile exercise area through July 21.

MG23 employs 3,000 personnel in direct support of the exercise, and expects to support more than 15,000 U.S. forces, and allied and partner participants associated with other exercises this year, seven times that of MG21 and nearly three times that of MG19.

Planning began in the spring of 2022 for the Pacific endeavor involving more than 200 planners from across AMC, including the headquarters staff, 18th Air Force, the 618th Air Operations Center and the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center. AMC exercise planners partnered with planners from dozens of additional Air Force, Joint, and international units to ensure the exercise delivers on its intent to demonstrate interoperability across Joint and combined international forces.

“The collaboration and connection formed alongside our DoD teammates and our Allies and partners during planning and execution will pay dividends today, tomorrow, and into our unquestionably complex future,” said Lt. Col. Jake Parker, MG23 exercise director.

Concurrently to MG23, Parker said the MAF will also serve as the “cohesive glue” for a series of other exercises occurring across the Indo-Pacific this summer. AMC’s role in enabling the meaningful maneuver of forces throughout the theater underscores the necessity of logistics and realistic interoperability in the region.

Each participating country has the opportunity to hone vital readiness skills and enhance interoperability in operationally limited environments among multiple mission areas including airlift, aerial refueling, aeromedical evacuation, the Global Air Mobility Support System, command and control, and humanitarian and disaster assistance.

“This is not a pass or fail scenario,” Parker said. “This is a proving ground for the MAF’s new status quo, tested through the application of flexible and agile concepts. The MAF will do its part to ensure the Joint Force and our Allies and partners can overcome transnational security challenges by redefining what MAF readiness looks like.”


Minihan made it clear that preparation for MG23 was not restricted to a selective group of planners – taking heed to what Minihan said was Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.’s directive to “Go Faster.” When he took command in October 2021, Minihan propelled the command toward droves of unconventional but risk-informed approaches, guiding the way AMC conducts business.

From the dozens of wing-led large-force drills exercising Agile Combat Employment and Multi-Capable Airmen, to working a path that operationalized the KC-46A Pegasus, the command’s approach throughout the last year was designed to generate an unprecedented level of readiness and advantage for the Joint Force.

“The Mobility Air Forces’ success is non-negotiable and non-transferable, and the implications of a less-than-fearless and less-than-first class MAF are severe,” Minihan said. “We fully understand the magnitude of responsibility that rests on our shoulders, and we will deliver what is required to serve our fellow allies and partners and preserve our nation’s sacred peace, prosperity and prestige.” (US Air Force)

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