A large-scale multilateral exercise underway in the Indo-Pacific region kicked off this week with an elephant walk at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, featuring a coalition of 33 aircraft.
“Elephant walk” is a U.S. Air Force term that dates back to World War II and refers to aircraft taxiing en masse in a single line and close formation as a method of demonstrating air power.
Aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), French Air and Space Force, and Republic of Korea Air Force were represented in Monday’s event marking the launch of the “Cope North 2024″ quarterly bilateral exercise.
“Being able to direct and oversee this amazing showing of interoperability from Andersen AFB has filled me with awe,” Senior Airman Robert Rennie, an air traffic controller assigned to the 36th Operations Support Squadron, said in a statement. “The sheer amount of aircraft and the way our allies and partners operate together with us is inspiring.”
Cope North exercises, originally established in 1978, represent the U.S. Pacific Air Forces’ largest multilateral exercise. This year, an estimated 1,700 U.S. airmen, Marines, and sailors are expected to participate, as well as 700 service members from coalition air forces. According to the U.S. Air Force, 85 aircraft are scheduled to fly 1,400 missions across three islands and six airfields.
“Throughout the exercise we aim to aggressively practice combat air forces and mobility air forces dispersal activities in concert with all six participating nations,” said Lieutenant Colonel David Overstreet, Cope North lead planner.