News: Friendship Jump kicks off Exercise Eager Lion 2012
Story by Staff Sgt. Julius Clayton
AMMAN, Jordan—Members of Combined Joint Task Force Spartan, including United States and Jordanian armed forces, joined together on a ‘friendship jump’ Thursday as a start up to Exercise Eager Lion 2012.The participants executed two types of jumps: a static line jump, which they executed from a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at a height of approximately 1,200 feet, and a high altitude-low opening, or HALO jump, which is executed at heights of 10,000 feet or higher.
The jumps were one event of Eager Lion 12, which is part of a long history of multilateral military exercises in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and includes 19 countries from five different continents and more than 11,000 participants.
“Events like this jump help to build teams and folks will walk away from here with relationships they’ll remember for years,” said Maj. Gen. Ken Tovo, Combined Joint Task Force Spartan commander.
Tovo completed the jump with Jordanian special forces Col. Aref Al-Zaben. “Airborne jumps are one of the unique opportunities for soldiers to share together,” Al-Zaben said.
A ‘friendship jump’ is an airborne jump in which the parachutists from different nations exchange jump wings with one another in a formal manner after completing the jump.
A ceremony culminated the event in which Tovo exchanged jump wings with Al-Zaben while U.S. and Jordanian parachutists also pinned their counterparts. Tovo and Al-Zaben also recognized each participant with a jump wing certificate.
Tovo added, “It is an opportunity to share and build relationships on a tactical as well as a personal level with our Jordanian partners.”
Eager Lion’s focus is to strengthen military-to-military relationships of participating partner nations through a joint, whole-of-government, multinational approach, integrating all instruments of national power to meet current and future complex national security challenges.
“Exercise Eager Lion is [about] countries in this part of the world building theater cooperation and relationships between us and our Jordanian counterparts,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, the command senior enlisted leader for United States Central Command.
Sgt. Maj. Mohammad Al-Smadi, sergeant major of the Jordanian army, stated,” Exercise Eager Lion helps us share our military experience and knowledge with each other for the benefit of our armies and our nations.”
The exercise promotes cooperation and interoperability among participating forces, builds functional capacity, practices crisis management and enhances readiness.