NEWS | July 1, 2011

CENTCOM Command Sgt. Maj. takes part in “Eager Lion 2011” exercise

By MC2(AW) Jospeph M. Buliavac , NPASE West

AMMAN, Jordan (June 29, 2011) — U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, U.S. Army, recently visited with troops while observing and taking part in exercise “Eager Lion 2011” in Jordan 11-30 June.

“Eager Lion 2011” is a major bilateral strategic theater cooperation exercise between Jordan and the U.S. focusing on irregular warfare, special operations and counterinsurgency.

“I am on hand to represent the command element of CENTCOM to participate and look at how we’re going to mature this exercise over the years in support of our nations and our roles within the region and beyond,” said Grippe. “And also to gain participation from other coalition partners within this region and others so we can gain more working relationships and synchronization between all our coalition forces.”

The exercise was designed to help participants prepare for current security challenges during deployments in support of global contingency operations in joint and interagency environments.

“The exercise is running very smoothly, the Jordanians are wonderful hosts, the nation of Jordan is one of our closest allies in the region and an ally and coalition partner worldwide,” said Grippe. “The Jordanians have gone out of their way to insure professionalism across the board here.”

During the exercise Command Sgt. Maj. Grippe visited with all levels of command from all branches of U.S. and Jordanian armed forces focusing on the non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps of both nations military branches.

“The NCO corps is a force multiplier in any professional armed service,” said Grippe. “They directly compliment and support the officers on a daily basis across the entire spectrum of armed forces and take care of that nations most precious resource; it’s sons and daughters.”

While in Jordan, Grippe traveled exclusively with command level NCOs and was able to discuss his vision for the enlisted personnel in the 20 nations that CENTCOM over watches and their Armed Forces.

“The Jordanians are very interested in further professionalizing an already stellar group of NCOs,” said Grippe. “Unless you have a proficient and professional NCO corps a military will be lacking it’s full potential and capabilities.”

While observing and participating in the exercise Grippe visited and talked regularly with NCOs from all four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces in the area to include a special visit to amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).

“The American NCO corps has developed over the last 200 years into a force unto our nations military like no other force around the world,” said Grippe. “If it wasn’t for the proficiency of our NCOs and the over watch by the most proficient and professional officer corps in the world, our nation would need a military virtually ten times the size of what we have now supporting peace and security around the world, our NCOs in each service strive to be the best of the best.”