US and Jordanian soldiers are currently in the middle of the annual Eager Lion training exercise, an 11-day exercise involving more than 1,500 US sailors and 1,800 US Marines.
The troops train in urban, mountain, and desert environments, and practice everything from marksmanship to artillery strikes. One of the highlights of the exercise is the chance to drill at Jordan’s special forces training center – the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre – which is carved out of a mountain and has everything the most elite soldiers in the world need
“It is a very unique opportunity,” Col. Farrell J. Sullivan, the Commanding Officer of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, told Business Insider. “It’s not everyday that you get to integrate with a partner force to this extent.”
Take a look at Eager Lion here:
Eager Lion is taking place in multiple locations in Jordan. Because of Jordan’s geography, Marines are able to train in environments like mountains and deserts.
“The training venue that Jordan provides is great,” Sullivan said. “For us being an East Coast based unit, you don’t get these opportunities often.”
Jordan’s rocky mountains and barren deserts gave US Marines a taste of what combat in this area of the world is like.
They also provided a good place to test out operations with heavy weapons like AT-4s, artillery, and mortars.
Marksmanship was also an important part of Eager Lion, especially since the mountainous terrain in Jordan is somewhat similar to what Marines in Afghanistan experience.
The marksman drills, like most of the other exercises, were also conducted in the dark of night.
The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC) hosted a lot of the drills. “It is a world class facility, no doubt,” Sullivan said.
KASOTC is a training center carved out of a mountain that offers a number of realistic training environments, like an airport, embassy compound, and mock village.
“It is the most realistic set that I have ever seen,” Sullivan said of KASOTC, adding that he “can’t say enough good about it.”
Jordanian soldiers and US Marines trained side by side,
Sullivan said that “language has not been a barrier,” noting that many Jordanian officers speak English, and that the Marines had Arabic-speaking personnel as well.
Sullivan noted that the Marines and the Jordanian armed forces coordinated artillery and mortar strikes during a series of drills.
The two forces practiced aerial insertions with helicopters and aircraft like the V-22. Fixed wing aircraft were also used to practice dropping bombs on targets.
Armoured vehicles, like these LAV-25s, were given a chance to hit the desert and see how they would perform.
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