9th AS Airmen conduct Maximum Endurance Operations during Mobility Guardian 23

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jackie Noffsinger
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 9th Airlift Squadron conducted a 35-hour duty day, flying a C-5M Super Galaxy from Hawaii to Australia and back, during Maximum Sustained Tempo operations as a part of Mobility Guardian 23, July 12, 2023. 

“This proved that we can make it to the corners of the globe and back within a single duty day,” said Maj. Jeff Asper, 9th AS chief of training.

MG23 was the largest iteration of the Air Mobility Command exercise to date, aiming to understand and overcome distance to deliver the mobilization, deployment and sustainment functions that the Joint Force, allies and partners depend on to respond to challenges worldwide.

MG23 allowed Mobility Air Forces Airmen to exercise longer mission durations through Maximum Endurance Operations to overcome the tyranny of distance presented by the Indo-Pacific theater.

“We normally have 24 hours for a maximum duty day, and that’s rare,” said Asper. “MG23 was really unique because the duty day increased to 38 or 48 hours depending on how the crews were stacked.”

Asper served as one of two aircraft commanders for the 35-hour mission, which consisted of two fully augmented crews that swapped out while flying to allow for crew rest. This enabled the C-5 to fly 23.6 flight hours; nearly double the time of standard C-5 missions. 

“We had two fully augmented crews, meaning each crew could have done a 24-hour day by themselves,” said Asper.

The unique capabilities of the C-5 enabled the mission to be accomplished without the need for aerial refueling.

“The Pacific is definitely where the C-5 shines,” said Asper. “We were able to make [it from Hawaii to Australia] in one hop without the need for aerial refueling.” 

MG23’s unique design exercised the maximum capabilities of the Mobility Air Forces across the Indo-Pacific. The new concepts applied throughout the exercise, to include MEO’s, created more options for air commanders orchestrating complex and dynamic air movements across the theater.

“The most rewarding part of MG23 was doing what the C-5 was built to do, delivering cargo across long distances without stopping,” said Asper. “MG23 unleashed the C-5 to do what it does best.”