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Mobility Exercise prepares unit for worldwide mobilizations

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Mobility Exercise held on base Nov. 9 tested the 123rd Airlift Wing's ability to respond to the state and nation's call to duty.

The exercise -- informally called a 'Mob-Ex" -- simulated the wing's deployment process from start to finish, with members of the base "Mobility Machine" working together to ensure that personnel and equipment were prepared to leave home station at a moment's notice.

"The goal with the exercise is to practice exactly like we'll perform in a real-world scenario," said Colonel Armand Bolotte, installation deployment officer. "We want to make sure our personnel can process out correctly and have the equipment and training required to accomplish their mission.

"This was a great opportunity for us to get together and make sure we all understand our procedures," Colonel Bolotte added. "We have a lot of new faces in the wing who are fairly new to this detailed process, and (we have) a busy schedule ahead."

That schedule includes an upcoming Air Expeditionary Force rotation to Afghanistan in March, a July deployment to Germany and an October mission to South America.

"We're heading into a very busy period," agreed Col. Greg Nelson, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing.

"The MobEx was a great start for us. Being ready to answer the call is a priority for our wing. Now we're getting more people involved in the mobility process, and it will give us that much more experience moving forward."

Colonel Bolotte praised the base Mobility Machine -- the 100 or so experts who manage the deployment and redeployment processes -- for make the wing's global accomplishments possible.

"The 123rd is considered a national leader," he said. "All the time, people look to us to see how we do business."

For example, the colonel noted that a recent deployment by Kentucky maintainers to Yemen lead to an international request for an information exchange.

"That's a very prestigious and impressive request," he said.

"When we went on our AEF deployments last year, the other units in rotation looked to us to be the lead even when we weren't designated to be the lead unit. They want to talk about how we do things.

"We have a reputation out there that we're going to continue to build upon moving forward."