This particular “walk” entailed “taxiing entire squadrons of aircraft in close formation as would be necessary in a short-notice wartime situation” and was performed “to prepare airmen to respond quickly to a threat if necessary, and also to serve as a show of force to potential aggressor nations in the surrounding region,” as reported by Popular Mechanics magazine.
In other words, it was designed to scare the pants off loudmouth North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whose arrogant bravado needed to be put in its place.
Watch the “elephant walk” below:
According to Air Mobility Command, this exercise originated in World War II, though at that point in time it wasn’t an exercise but rather an actual wartime act.
“The Army Air Forces had the luxury of large amounts of bombers … and would regularly generate attacks in excess of 1,000 aircraft,” AMC noted. “Observers commented that the nose-to-tail, single-file taxi movements of the heavily-laden bombers paralleled the nose-to-tail trail of lumbering elephants on their way to the next watering hole.”
“Elephant walks” have since become an exercise meant mainly to allow officials “to inspect all aspects of a wing’s readiness to meet its wartime mission.”
Pivoting back to the “elephant walk” last month at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, it’s clear that the squadrons of F-15 Eagles, HH-60 Pave Hawks, E-3 Sentries and KC-135 Stratotankers stationed at the base were ready to rock and roll if necessary. Mind you, they weren’t alone.
Another walk was performed just last week at a base in Georgia “in order to demonstrate the wing’s ability to rapidly deploy combat ready forces across the globe,” according to Moody Air Force Base.