62d Airlift Wing executes Operation Max Moose, paving the way for Global Mobility

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rachel Williams
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In the early months of 2023, Gen. Mike Minihan, Air Mobility Command commander, sent a memorandum to all AMC commanders, detailing his orders in preparation for the next fight.

Minihan stated that his intent for the command is to go faster, driving readiness, agility and integration for AMC and the Joint Force.

America’s Airlift Wing is doing just that.

The 62d Airlift Wing took to the skies and executed Operation Max Moose, a Max Generation and Max Employment exercise out of JBLM, Washington, July 11-13, 2023.

“The 62d Airlift Wing pilots, loadmasters, and maintainers are paving new roads for strategic airlift,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick McClintock, 62d Operations Group commander. “In the face of tomorrow’s threat, it’s an operational imperative that we test the ability to push the C-17 [Globemaster III] to operate longer, ingress into locations where support is minimal or non-existent, and charge aircrews to push their own limits.”

These operations were developed to expand standing tactics, techniques, and procedures, increasing AMC’s ability to dominate in the United States Indo-Pacific Command region.

The purpose of the Max Generation was to exercise and evaluate the 62d OG and the 62d Maintenance Group’s ability to coordinate and launch a maximum number of aircraft in response to a simulated combat scenario, as well as to evaluate and identify gaps in the various applicable 62d AW emergency plans.

In other words, the wing generated as many aircrew members and launched as many aircraft in as short a time as possible; a total of 19 crews and 15 aircraft were generated and launched within a 12-hour notice.

Operation Max Moose also put the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Flight to the test, ensuring the aircraft are properly fueled and maintenance personnel are specialized fueling operations (SFO) qualified.

Flowing from Max Generation was the Max Employment exercise, where the objective was to extend C-17A operations with engines running for a continuous 44-hour period, and exercise Agile Combat Employment and Multi-Capable Airmen concepts to establish and maintain competencies with Airmen.

A total of four crews sustained continuous engine-running operations of two C-17As over a 44-hour period – a first for the C-17A community.

The crews consisted of aircrew, flying crew chiefs and medical personnel.

Crews were split into roughly two 24-hour legs, exercising SFO operations, semi-prepared runway operations, low-level flight operations in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment while wearing night vision goggles, and air-to-air refueling from a KC-46 Pegasus and KC-135 Stratotanker.

Operation Max Moose also tested the 62d AW’s new efforts from maintenance personnel: the safe and rapid servicing of engine oil without having to fully shut down aircraft, minimizing ground time and keeping flying assets in the air and on the move. 

“This was the first step in a crawl, walk, run process to develop new procedures for C-17 ground operations,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Joyce, 62d MXG commander. “These tests are accelerating the C-17 operations needed for future contingency operations. These efforts, especially the engine running oil servicing procedures, provide aircrew with options to limit ground time in contested environments. It also allows for rapid mission execution to increase velocity in C-17 mobility operations.”

McClintock went on to commend the relationship between the wing’s operations and maintenance teams.

“The partnership between the 62d Airlift Wing’s Operations and Maintenance teams are the best I’ve seen in a 22-year career,” said McClintock. “In line with General Minihan’s drive to deliver lethality … this procedure will enable the C-17 to reduce ground times, minimize maintenance, and bolster the aircraft’s ability to operate in and out of contingency locations.”

Overall, the Airmen of America’s Airlift Wing demonstrated safe and efficient C-17 operations while documenting limitations, risks and opportunities to improve – paving the way for the rest of AMCs preparation for the future fight.

“I’m extremely impressed to see Team McChord’s Max Moose crews navigate these uncharted waters and come out the other side with a fully tested practice that can now be repeatable across the Mobility Air Forces,” said McClintock.