News: US Marines, Soldiers, Jordanians take part in recognition ceremony
Story by 2nd Lt. Joshua Larson
AQABA CITY, Jordan – U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit joined soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Technical Rescue Unit and Jordan’s Chemical Support Unit and Civil Defense Force in a recognition ceremony for successful bilateral training between each nation’s consequence management elements, May 19, as part of Exercise Eager Lion 12.
The purpose of the ceremony was to acknowledge the efforts of Jordanians and Americans alike, who partnered together for several days before and during the execution phase of Eager Lion to share each other’s tactics, techniques, and procedures regarding defense capabilities against a multitude of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
“When we first arrived, we weren’t sure how much the Jordanians knew, but once we got past the language barrier we realized they were very proficient,” said Cpl. Jason Monday, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialist with the 24th MEU.
The U.S. Marines and Soldiers trained alongside the Jordanians on common consequence management skills including entry, sample and decontamination operations. All forces anticipate showing off their skills on May 23-24 when their training is scheduled to culminate in a simulated chemical release, said CWO 3 Brian Barksdale, the 24th MEU’s CBRN defense officer-in-charge.
“This training is important for everyone taking part because we would join with the Jordanians as a U.S. Central Command theater asset if an event occurred in Jordan,” Barksdale said. “As a theater reserve force, the 24th MEU would augment the Jordanians if they asked us for assistance.”
Col. Frank Donovan, the commanding officer of the 24th MEU, spoke with the CBRN defense Marines before the ceremony and explained that the primary benefit from the training is the 24th MEU can now perform in any potential contingency operation with Jordanian forces.
Donovan also spoke beforehand with the governor of Aqaba City, Thamer Alfaiez, about the importance of having ties with Jordan because the 24th MEU, with its 2,300 Marines and three amphibious assault ships, will be within the region for the next several months as a theater reserve and crisis response force.
Several Jordanian leaders took part in the recognition ceremony and Alfaiez spoke in support of the efforts of both the Jordanian and American Forces involved.
“This is a fruitful cooperation between us,” he said.
Donovan also spoke at the ceremony and added to the theme of cooperation.
“These Marines are leaving here better trained and better prepared for our deployment ahead because of our training with the Jordanian Armed Forces,” he said.
Eager Lion itself is a multilateral exercise with a variety of training scenarios at different locations throughout Jordan. It is designed to increase interoperability and strengthen military-to-military relationships through a joint, whole-of-government, multinational approach to potential complex national security challenges.