The Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field will host a nearly two-week military exercise that will begin on Monday, July 31st.
The Yakima City Council has approved a lease with the U.S. Air Force for its Mobility Guardian 2017 readiness exercise at the airport. The exercise will be held through Saturday, August 12th.
The Air Mobility Command’s exercise, which will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is expected to be the most realistic real-world, scenario-driven training the command has ever undertaken. It was designed to allow the forces to “train like they fight” by developing and improving techniques and procedures that enhance air mobility operations.
Aircraft expected to be used during the exercise include C-17 and C-130 transport planes as well as Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters.
“The community is going to witness a lot of aircraft coming in and out of the airport,” said Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field Director Rob Peterson. “There will be an increase in aircraft noise and vibrations, but at night the Air Force will try to be sensitive to the public.”
Anyone interested can watch the operation from behind a fence at the airport. “The best spot to view would be the administration building just west of the terminal building,” Peterson said. The exercise will not impact regular, day-to-day flight operations at the airport, he said.
“The military has advised me they will give way to any aircraft and commercial aircraft operations,” Peterson said. “If there are any delays with arriving and departing airlines, it will be due to other causes within the aviation industry not because of the exercise.”
Ground troops will also be participating in support of the exercise.
“We’re going to see about 80 to 100 troops stationed in various parts of the airport,” Peterson said. “The second floor of the terminal and the old terminal building will be their offices. Tents will be set up at the airport for possible sleeping quarters.”
It is the Air Force’s first such exercise and Yakima is one of just three sites statewide to host it during the same two-week time frame. Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Moses Lake are the others. “We are strategically positioned in Central Washington and we are adjacent to the Yakima Training Center,” Peterson said.
Between the three sites combined, Air Force officials anticipate more than 2,000 people are expected, including members of the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and others. It is also an international training exercise, as representatives from 11 countries will participate. Peterson said the Air Force had not indicated if international personnel will be stationed in Yakima during the exercise.
For more about the Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field, visit https://yakimaairterminal.com/