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​Seven C-17 Globemaster IIIs prepare to depart the McChord Field flight line May 17, 2016, as part of a Large Force Exercise at the Mountain Home Range Complex, Idaho. Air Force photo by SSgt. Naomi Shipley.

C-17s and crews from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., this month conducted a small-scale flag exercise as a “proof of concept” for Air Mobility Command’s new premier training exercise. Five C-17s and crews flew from McChord to the Mountain Home Range Complex in Idaho on May 17 where they conducted multiple mission-specific training flights in a small version of next year’s Mobility Guardian exercise. The C-17s flew alongside F-15Es from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, simulating operations in a non-permissive environment. They also conducted airdrop training, with F-15Es flying reactive close air support, according to a McChord release. Mobility Guardian will replace the command’s Mobility Rodeo competition as its highest-level exercise. During the full exercise, the mission will be repeated at the Idaho range, but with 15 C-17s, 15 C-130s, at least 12 tankers, and a bigger fighter escort, the release states.