A U.S. Army paratrooper pins U.S. Army Airborne wings onto a Jordanian Armed Forces Soldier following a friendship jump as part of Exercise Eager Lion 2013. The jump involved Soldiers from Jordan, U.S., France and the United Arab Emirates. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Mott)
ZARQA, Jordan – As the sun cascaded across the Jordanian desert, paratroopers dotted the sky as they floated to the ground carrying the seeds of cooperation with them as part of a friendship jump during Exercise Eager Lion 2013.
“It was a great opportunity to learn how they conduct an airborne operation and it was a good opportunity for them to watch us conduct and airborne operation,” said U.S. Army Maj. Ryan Schloesser, civil affairs planning chief, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). “It was really just about maintaining that relationship and strengthening that relationship.”
Paratroopers from Jordan, France, United Arab Emirates and the U.S. participated in the jump and exchanged jump wings in a ceremony afterward. This ceremony is common for friendship jumps between partnering nations.
“Paratroopers always have that little bit of flare, spirit,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Frank A. Grippe, senior enlisted leader for U.S. Army Central Command. “So it’s fun to get up at ‘Oh Dark Thirty’ and have an early morning jump to start the day and for the most part to start the exercise for these nations.”
Exercise Eager Lion 2013 is a multinational exercise that replicates modern-day security challenges and is designed to strengthen relationships through a joint, comprehensive multinational approach. Events such as this jump allow each nation to display their expertise and impart some of that wisdom onto others.
Following this jump, these soldiers will be conducting more training and information exchanges in order to increase the knowledge and understanding between these partnerships. Eager Lion provides multilateral forces with the opportunity to promote cooperation and interoperability among participating forces, build functional capacity, practice crisis management and enhance readiness.
“We always want to teach all over the world that we are one part to face the problems that are going on nowadays. From all parts we are walking with the American soldiers. We learn a lot from them and sometimes we teach them something,” said Jordanian Chief Warrant Officer Firas Domi, the command sergeant major of the Jordanian special operations forces.