US puts military might on display in one of its largest ‘elephant walks’

A message to friends and foes that the U.S. remains committed to rigorous military training.
Sejal Sharma
U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Marcus Ross
The Elephant Walk

Air Force  

In a giant display of U.S. military strength, 4,000 Airmen shared the tarmac with 80 aircraft at the Sheppard Air Force base in Texas. This is possibly the largest elephant walk in U.S. military history.

The training exercise comes as the U.S. grapples with the implications of the leaked documents on the Ukraine-Russia war. As per the documents, the U.S. has a considerable contingent of special forces deployed in Ukraine, along with other NATO states.

US puts military might on display in one of its largest ‘elephant walks’
4,000 Airmen and 80 aircraft participated in a one-of-a-kind elephant walk

Resembling a large herd of elephants taking a walk at a slow and graceful gait, the elephant walk is an exercise to showcase the sheer power and the number of advanced fighter jets of a nation, serving as a warning to its adversaries. As Interesting Engineering has previously reported, the term Elephant Walk dates back to World War II when large fleets, comprising bomber aircraft from allied forces, would be launched together to conduct bombing raids.

“A picture is worth a thousand words, and this elephant walk really illustrates the scope and magnitude of what we do here,” said Brigadier General Lyle K. Drew, 82nd Training Wing commander, in a statement. “About 48 percent of all new Airmen are trained in the 82nd TW, in 55 career fields ranging from aircraft maintenance, logistics, civil engineering, nuclear operations, and telecommunications. Plus, we support students from at least 30 partner nations.”

US puts military might on display in one of its largest ‘elephant walks’
Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas

The Sheppard base serves as a training ground for three of the eight technical training groups in the U.S. Air Force command. The base also conducts Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training and houses the largest Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

The two wings – the 82nd Training Wing and the 80th Flying Training Wing – planned the exercise to show that the U.S. and its allies remain dedicated to unparalleled training as part of its mighty combat power.

“No other base could bring this many training aircraft and student Airmen to bear like this,” said Colonel Brad Orgeron, 80th Flying Training Wing commander. “The fundamental technical and pilot training missions that happen here every day affect literally every base and every combat sortie in the Air Force – not to mention the impact on our global partners.”

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