South Sound motels and restaurants are feeling the effects of more than 2,000 military members from several branches and 11 other nations assembled at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for a readiness exercise this week and next.

A massive air assault with U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne paratroopers and other air-to-land forces will be dropping onto the Moses Lake airport today. Extending into darkness hours, troops will practice taking over an air field being held by unfriendly forces. As many as 13 C-17 transports will join 20 C-130 cargo craft, 11 U.S. Air Force aerial tankers and other aircraft from four allied partner nations.

Military airports at Yakima Training Center and Fairchild AFB, Spokane, are being supplemented by civilian facilities in Yakima and Moses Lake, in addition to McChord AFB, are staging the aerial armada.

Civilian neighbors around JBLM should be seeing increased overflights of these military aircraft during this readiness exercise dubbed Mobility Guardian. It is the first realistic, real-world scenario-driven exercise ever undertaken by Air Mobility Command, and will more than quadruple the normal number of missions flown in past tests.

More details on the activity (and much larger size estimates) was included in a blog on earlier this week.