Dozens of U.S. Air Force transport aircraft showcases ‘rapid global mobility’

The U.S. Air Force conducted its so-called ‘Elephant Walk’ training element, launching dozens of transport aircraft in a condensed period as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

Mobility Guardian 2019 is AMC’s largest full-spectrum readiness exercise to date. Forty-six U.S. aircraft joined aircraft from 29 international partners, along with more than 4,000 U.S. and international Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps aviators.

A range of airframes, including the KC-10 Extender, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-5 Super Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III and C-130H/J Hercules, took part in the training.

The exercise emulates the contested, degraded and operationally-limited environments mobility forces face now and in preparation for the future. Scenarios were designed to elicit a real-world feel while focusing on all four AMC core competencies: the diverse missions of airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and global air mobility support.

Through robust and relevant training, Mobility Guardian improves the readiness and capabilities of Mobility Airmen to deliver rapid global mobility and builds a more lethal and ready Air Force.

As to ‘Elephant Walk’, this is a fundamental training element when preparing for global strike missions. Units usually perform an elephant walk to give pilots practice in teamwork and prepare for wartime operations.

The term elephant walk dates to World War II when large fleets of allied bombers would conduct attacks in missions containing 1,000 aircraft. Those who observed this said that the taxiing of these large numbers of aircraft to takeoff in single file in nose-to-tail formations said that they looked like elephants walking to the next watering hole. Over time, it was incorporated into the lexicon of the United States Air Force to identify a “maximum sortie surge”.

Photo by 1st Lt. Jessica Cicchetto
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