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OCTs train, assess mobility Airmen throughout MG19

A guy sits on a vehicle.

An Airman prepares to assist a loadmaster with onloading a piece of aerospace ground equipment during Mobility Guardian 2019 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Sept. 23, 2019. About 4,000 Mobility Airmen were tested alongside their Joint and Total force partners with airdrops, airlifts, aeromedical evacuations and air refueling capabilities during MG19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man stands outside.

Mobility Airmen prepare a piece of aerospace ground equipment to be onloaded onto a C-130J during Mobility Guardian 2019 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Sept. 23, 2019. MG19 tests the joint and total forces against threats faced in the current fight and higher-end threats to compete, deter and win potential future wars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell)

Two men work on a piece of equipment.

(Left) U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dustin Rice, 34th Combat Training Squadron observer, coach and trainer NCO in charge of Mobility Guardian, assists U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jacob Sundstrom, 89th Aerial Port Squadron aircraft serviceman from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, prior to onloading a C-130J at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Sept. 23, 2019. Over 100 OCTs from numerous career fields were at MG19 to share their knowledge during the exercise deliberately developing Airmen to become joint-minded mobility leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell)

Two people stand on a plane.

Two loadmasters from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, receive training on loading a C-130J during Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Sept. 23, 2019. Mobility Airmen came from all over the globe to be trained by seasoned and experienced observers, coaches and trainers in numerous career fields. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man marshalls a vehicle.

A staff sergeant from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, onloads a piece of aerospace ground equipment onto a C-130J at Mobility Guardian 2019 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Sept. 23, 2019. Mobility Airmen had the opportunity to operate and train in a simulated, contested environment where Airmen could train and develop as joint-minded mobility leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell)


Air Mobility Command has dedicated the majority of September 2019 bringing together Airmen from across the globe for Exercise Mobility Guardian, the command’s largest mobility exercise.

Nearly 30 Airmen from the 34th Combat Training Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, augmented a team of about 100 observers, coaches and trainers from different units to share their knowledge during the exercise deliberately developing Airmen to become joint-minded mobility leaders for the future Air Force.

“Exercises like this are going to provide a realistic environment for the service to get a true look at their capabilities,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Joyner, 34th CTS commander. “If we are going to invest in exercises like this, we have to make sure we prioritize where we need to improve and revamp for future training with our joint and international partners in order to execute tomorrows fight.”

As part of the Advanced Operational Node Team, OCTs brought cargo commonly found downrange such as Humvees to prepare the exercise play area for loads not typically done at home station. Along with those provisions, they brought knowledge and experience needed to train Ready Warriors.

“The whole idea of this exercise is to bring people together, learn something new, make each Airmen stronger, find their weaknesses, capitalize on those while using your strengths, and pass them on to others,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan O’Learly, 34th CTS mission support planner. “It’s very important for Airmen to participate and create a ready force to compete, deter and ultimately win.”

MG19 was designed for Airmen to fight as a Total Force alongside joint and international partners. While exercising, the Airmen are being assessed by the OCTs so senior leadership can continue to better the simulated, contested environment to keep their competitive edge.

“We provide our feedback directly to the players in the form of end-of-phase briefs, and we provide it to AMC headquarters leadership,” Joyner said. “There needs to be a formal mechanism that provides performance assessments back to senior leaders so they can then make decisions on training, investments, and skill priority for what we want to get after as a force.”

When the exercise began phase III, about 281 assessments had been completed with many more to come. The 34th CTS along with OCTs from other units evaluate members during flights, aerial port procedures, air medical evacuations, contingency responses and maintenance operations.

As the moving parts of Mobility Guardian wind down, the OCTs step back to look at the importance of the exercise beyond the assessments and focus more on the opportunities and knowledge each Airman can take back to home station.

“MG19 highlights a lot of what Airmen need to know, especially when some of them are right out of tech school,” O’Leary said. “That’s going to set them up to broaden their knowledge and prepare them to think on their own, act on their own and make good decisions. If Airmen are going to learn the hard way, it’s best they learn it here to better the future of the Air Force.”

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