ZARQA, Jordan - The Jordanian desert quickly filled with parachutes infiltrating the early morning sky June 2 as part of exercise Eager Lion 2014. Paratroopers from 10 different partner nations, including Pakistan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, Canada and Great Britain emerged as symbols of multinational cooperation and lasting military bonds.
A Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force exercise event, in which over 350 service members participated in what's been coined as the "friendship jump," the largest to date. Personnel from Special Operations Command Central, organized this Jordanian led effort by supporting more than 300 static line jumpers and more than 50 freefall jumpers as part of the high altitude low opening (HALO) jump.
Following the path of other great leaders, Brig. Gen. Adnan Al-Abbadi, CJSOTF commander and his U.S. deputy commander, Col. James D. Craig where the first to plunge from the aircraft.
Craig said, "events like this build rapport with other countries and it's a great opportunity to foster friendships."
Eager Lion provides excellent opportunities for training and information exchanges between multinational forces. This exercise is vital, as it increases overall knowledge and understanding amongst our regional partners in U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility.
The friendship jump is an annual Eager Lion event, it culminates with a wing exchange, in which all participants are authorized wear of Jordanian and U.S. parachutist wings.
When asked why training events such as Eager Lion were important, Brig. Gen. Adnan Al-Abbadi said, "This exercise unifies and integrates all participating countries. It's extremely important to exchange experiences and to learn from one another."