Early mornings was the routine at Mobility Guardian 19. Photo: Henrik Gebhardt / HAW
From 21 to 28 September the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), represented by the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) participated in Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019, an exercise arranged by U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC). Over the week the HAW aircrews got valuable off station experience, to meet their training requirements in areas such as air land and air drop operations.
The SAC program reached a historic milestone on exercise day one. The first SAC graduate of Aircraft Commander Air Drop (ACAD) training led an all European aircrew as they performed the first SAC Air Drop mission without US Air Force aircrew in either the pilot or loadmaster positions. This historic mission represents the increased operational maturity and international participation in the multinational Heavy Airlift Wing.
The first all European air drop crew. Photo: HAW
Another highlight of the exercise was during the Distinguished Visitors (DV) and Media Day, where the SAC C-17 was selected to be the aircraft that carried the DV's. Onboard was several international Generals and Ministers, including General Miller, the U.S. Air Force AMC Commander. The DV's did not only fly with the SAC C-17, but also got front row tickets to watch the heavy equipment air drop. A HAW representative participated in the media panel, and was prominent telling the SAC story at the Media day.
AMC Commander, General Miller shake hands with HAW Mission Commander, Lt Col Wood when boarding the SAC C-17 for the DV-flight. Photo: Henrik Gebhardt / HAW
Training for HAW personnel was however not limited to the HAW flight crews. Personnel from the Heavy Airlift Wing Combat Security unit, and the Air Crew Flight Equipment section also participated in exercise events during the week. Additionally personnel from the Command and Control squadron, the Aerial Port unit, as well as Flying Crew Chiefs were essential to making the deployed operations run smoothly.
HAW Flying Crew Chief marshalling the SAC C-17. Photo: Henrik Gebhardt / HAW
At the closing ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Monaco, AMC Exercise Director said, "You should all be extremely proud of what you have achieved" continuing "But this is just the first step. You should bring all lessons learned home to your nations or organizations". He encouraged all participants to keep developing in order to make the next Mobility Guardian exercise even better.
Also addressing the participants at the closing ceremony, the Wing Commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Colonel Salmi, expressed his gratitude to Fairchild Air Force Base, "For team Fairchild, I'd like to thank you for the incredible effort you put in". Major General Martin, AMC/A3 closed Mobility Guardian 2019 saying, "I'm very proud of you! It encourages me for the future."
Exercise Mobility Guardian is AMC's premier large scale mobility exercise, and SAC participated for the first time. Mobility Guardian aims to validate the Mobility Air Force's readiness and ability to support Joint Forces and integrate with international partners. This year it was hosted by the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington. More than 26 nations, 60 aircraft and 2,500 personnel participated in mobility operations to exercise rapid global mobility.
About the Strategic Airlift Capability
Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), established in 2008, is a multinational program that provides its 12 member nations with assured access to military airlift capability by owning and operating three Boeing C-17A Globemaster III long-range cargo aircraft.
SAC is based at the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF) Pápa Air Base, Hungary.
The SAC Nations are the NATO members Hungary (program host nation), Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden. Each participating nation owns a share of the available flight hours of the SAC C-17As to serve the needs of their national defense, NATO, EU or UN commitments and humanitarian relief efforts.
SAC consists of the 12-nation Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) and the NATO Airlift Management Programme Office (NAM PO). The HAW is the operational unit and the NAM PO, an integral part of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), is the acquisition and sustainment authority of the SAC C-17A weapon system.
NAM PO contracts with the U.S. Government, via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Agreements with the USAF, for SAC C-17 Technical and integrated Product Support, Flight Crew Training and operational data services. The USAF in turn sub-contracts many of these services to Industry; notably Boeing and Pratt & Whitney.