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Airmen reach the summit during Rainier War

A container delivery system bundle drops out of a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Eighteen C-17s and three KC-135 Stratotankers from McChord Field, other Air Mobility Command bases and Australia participated in Rainier War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A container delivery system bundle drops out of a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Eighteen C-17s and three KC-135 Stratotankers from McChord Field, other Air Mobility Command bases and Australia participated in Rainier War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Capt. Tate Montgomery, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot, flies a C-17 Globemaster III near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Montgomery was participating in Exercise Rainier War, which provided insights on how to better execute a tactical scenario for possible future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Capt. Tate Montgomery, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot, flies a C-17 Globemaster III near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Montgomery was participating in Exercise Rainier War, which provided insights on how to better execute a tactical scenario for possible future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A C-17 Globemaster III flies during Exercise Rainier War to perform container delivery system bundle airdrops near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. During the exercise, 20 C-17s from the U.S. and Australia performed actual container delivery system (CDS) and heavy equipment airdrops at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, and simulated improved CDS, CDS and high altitude low opening personnel airdrops throughout the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A C-17 Globemaster III flies during Exercise Rainier War to perform container delivery system bundle airdrops near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. During the exercise, 20 C-17s from the U.S. and Australia performed actual container delivery system (CDS) and heavy equipment airdrops at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, and simulated improved CDS, CDS and high altitude low opening personnel airdrops throughout the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, unhooks a parachute cover after dropping two bundles out of a C-17 Globemaster III onto the Rainier Drop Zone during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. During the exercise, 20 C-17s from the U.S. and Australia performed actual container delivery system (CDS) and heavy equipment airdrops at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, and simulated improved CDS, CDS and high altitude low opening personnel airdrops throughout the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, unhooks a parachute cover after dropping two bundles out of a C-17 Globemaster III onto the Rainier Drop Zone during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. During the exercise, 20 C-17s from the U.S. and Australia performed actual container delivery system (CDS) and heavy equipment airdrops at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, and simulated improved CDS, CDS and high altitude low opening personnel airdrops throughout the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, tests the functionality of his aircrew eye and respiratory protection system while flying in a C-17 Globemaster III near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Duck was participating in Exercise Rainier War, which provided insights on how to better execute a tactical scenario for possible future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, tests the functionality of his aircrew eye and respiratory protection system while flying in a C-17 Globemaster III near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Duck was participating in Exercise Rainier War, which provided insights on how to better execute a tactical scenario for possible future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, sits on the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Participating in the execution portion of the exercise were 110 aircrew and mission essential personnel from the 4th AS, 7th AS and 62nd Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, sits on the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Participating in the execution portion of the exercise were 110 aircrew and mission essential personnel from the 4th AS, 7th AS and 62nd Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A container delivery system bundle falls to the ground after dropping out of a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. The purpose of exercise was to highlight the C-17’s capabilities to perform the Air Force’s core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A container delivery system bundle falls to the ground after dropping out of a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. The purpose of exercise was to highlight the C-17’s capabilities to perform the Air Force’s core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A C-17 Globemaster III flies behind another C-17 during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. During the exercise, 20 C-17s from the U.S. and Australia performed actual container delivery system (CDS) and heavy equipment airdrops at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, and simulated improved CDS, CDS and high altitude low opening personnel airdrops throughout the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A C-17 Globemaster III flies behind another C-17 during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. During the exercise, 20 C-17s from the U.S. and Australia performed actual container delivery system (CDS) and heavy equipment airdrops at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, and simulated improved CDS, CDS and high altitude low opening personnel airdrops throughout the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, removes an aircrew eye and respiratory protection system while flying in a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. The purpose of exercise was to highlight the C-17’s capabilities to perform the Air Force’s core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Duck, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, removes an aircrew eye and respiratory protection system while flying in a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. The purpose of exercise was to highlight the C-17’s capabilities to perform the Air Force’s core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Airman 1st Class Samantha Martino, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, prepares to drop a container delivery system bundle out of a C-17 Globemaster III onto the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Martino was participating in Exercise Rainier War, which provided insights on how to better execute a tactical scenario for possible future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)
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Airman 1st Class Samantha Martino, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, prepares to drop a container delivery system bundle out of a C-17 Globemaster III onto the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Martino was participating in Exercise Rainier War, which provided insights on how to better execute a tactical scenario for possible future conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

First Lt. Edmund Duvall, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot, removes an aircrew eye and respiratory protection system (AERPS) while flying in a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. The crew’s ability to put on AERPS gear properly was one aspect they trained on during the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)
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First Lt. Edmund Duvall, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot, removes an aircrew eye and respiratory protection system (AERPS) while flying in a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. The crew’s ability to put on AERPS gear properly was one aspect they trained on during the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Airman 1st Class Samantha Martino, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, reels in parachute covers after dropping two bundles from a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018.  The purpose of exercise was to highlight the C-17’s capabilities to perform the Air Force’s core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)
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Airman 1st Class Samantha Martino, 7th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, reels in parachute covers after dropping two bundles from a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Rainier War at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. The purpose of exercise was to highlight the C-17’s capabilities to perform the Air Force’s core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

Capt. Tate Montgomery, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot, flies a C-17 Globemaster III towards a KC-135 Stratotanker for refueling during Exercise Rainer War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Three KC-135 Stratotankers participated in Exercise Rainier War to provide in-air refueling to the multiple C-17s executing tactical combat missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)
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Capt. Tate Montgomery, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot, flies a C-17 Globemaster III towards a KC-135 Stratotanker for refueling during Exercise Rainer War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Three KC-135 Stratotankers participated in Exercise Rainier War to provide in-air refueling to the multiple C-17s executing tactical combat missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

A C-17 Globemaster III, left, approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker for in-air refueling during Exercise rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Three KC-135 Stratotankers participated in Exercise Rainier War to provide in-air refueling to the multiple C-17s executing tactical combat missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)
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A C-17 Globemaster III, left, approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker for in-air refueling during Exercise rainier War near Moses Lake, Wash., June 6, 2018. Three KC-135 Stratotankers participated in Exercise Rainier War to provide in-air refueling to the multiple C-17s executing tactical combat missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Like its namesake, Exercise Rainier War was a mountainous undertaking executed by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and Australian air force to train for potential future conflicts June 6 at McChord Field.

“One of the biggest challenges was we planned this for 20 C-17 Globemaster IIIs and that’s a lot of moving parts,” said Capt. Joseph Fry, Rainier War lead and 4th Airlift Squadron (AS) chief of tactics and weapons officer. “Finding a way to move large amounts of airlift assets and making sure we don’t have aircrafts in the same place, at the same time, at the same altitude.”

The purpose of Rainier War was to highlight the C-17’s capabilities to perform the Air Force’s core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement.

The exercise ultimately included 18 C-17 Globemaster IIIs – ten from McChord, seven from other bases throughout Air Mobility Command and one from Australia – conducting actual container delivery system (CDS) and heavy equipment airdrops at the Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake, and simulated improved CDS, CDS and high altitude low opening personnel airdrops throughout the western United States. Additionally, three KC-135 Stratotankers performed in-air refueling for the numerous C-17s.

“Seeing multiple C-17 units from both the US and Australia operate effectively together during a complex scenario like this always gives me pride in the expertise of our C-17 aircrew,” said Capt. Mike Watkins, Rainier War Air Force lead and 7th AS deputy of chief if standards and evaluations. “Even though there are always improvements that can be made, I believe that the aircrew who planned and flew in this exercise increased their proficiency in many aspects of the C-17s capabilities that only can be practiced during exercises like these.”

Participating in the execution portion of the exercise were 110 aircrew and mission essential personnel from the 4th AS, 7th AS and 62nd Operations Squadron. They were aided in the mission by numerous Airmen in support of the exercise from the 62nd Maintenance Squadron, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron and the multiple flights from the 62nd OSS to include intelligence, weather, crew communications and aircrew flying equipment. Two U.S. Army 2-2 Infantry Division squadrons also participated in Rainier War, the 8-1 Calvary and 13th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion.

The various participants were tested on their ability to find solutions to tactical problems in the air, launch and recover aircraft, properly put on aircrew eye and respiratory protection system and more during Rainier War.

“This exercise is important because it prepares all Airmen supporting the generation of Rainier War to focus their preparation for the future,” Watkins said. “From the extensive launch and recovery efforts provided by maintenance to the continuing evolution of tactics, techniques and procedures utilized by aircrew required to fly against a near-peer adversary, Rainier War highlights the all-encompassing need for all Airmen to prepare for future adversaries and their important roles within this warfighter ethos.  Overall, this exercise allows all Airmen to ‘train like we fight’ and develop ourselves before the impact is felt real-world.”

 In addition to the Airmen who executed the exercise, 30 personnel in the mission planning cell comprised of pilots, loadmasters and intelligence officers planned the entire exercise the week prior.

“It’s a really thankless job those guys do,” Fry said. “You work and put together a plan someone else is going to go fly and in the end you don’t necessarily get thanked for that. All the people in the mission planning cell did incredible work.”

Rainier War provided insights on how to better execute a tactical scenario for possible future conflicts and debriefs showed where there could be improvement.

“The debrief highlighted the failures we did have that allows us to improve upon those failures in the future, which is why I rate this as a success,” Fry said. “My vision for this was [the Airmen] would get a fuller appreciation of the spectrum of which this aircraft can be employed and have greater confidence in going forward at attacking and solving tactical problems which may not initial appear to have an easy answer.”  

As with someone climbing to the top of Mount Rainier, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Airmen and Soldiers tackled the challenge of planning and executing Exercise Rainier War and reached the summit of their ultimate goal to provide rapid global mobility and precision engagement for the Air Force.