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An M1A1 Abrams tank with Tank Platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fires on a target to gain its battle-sight-zero here, May 7, 2012, during bilateral tank training with the Royal Jordanian Army as part of Exercise Eager Lion 12. More than 1,000 Marines and sailors from the 24th MEU are scheduled to participate in various events throughout Jordan to maximize multilateral training opportunities and continue to build relationships with partners throughout the region. Eager Lion 12 is the second major exercise for the 24th MEU and Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group after deploying in March to serve as a forward-deployed crisis-response force.

Photo by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein

US Marines, Jordanian forces find common ground with firepower

7 May 2012 | Sgt. Richard Blumenstein 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines from the tank platoon of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and tank crewmen with the Royal Jordanian Army spent May 7 conducting a live-fire training exercise in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan putting tank rounds on target.

The bilateral training event was part of Exercise Eager Lion 12, an exercise that takes place throughout the month of May, which involves 19 countries and approximately 11,000 service members.

Marines and Jordanians began by firing multiple rounds from their respective tanks to gain their battle-sight-zero, an accurate starting point of aim.

“It’s all about first round accuracy because in a tank battle the first accurate round wins,” said Sgt. Hunter Pierce, an M1A1 Abrams tank armored crewman.

The training focused on preparing the Marines’ M1A1 tanks and Jordanians’ Challenger 1 tanks for the future training they are scheduled to conduct during Eager Lion.

“The importance of today’s training is to validate weapons systems and make sure everything is functioning properly and also make sure that we can have safe training,” said 1st Lt. William Weyrauch, the tank platoon commander with the 24th MEU.

The training also provided the Marines and Jordanians with the opportunity to work together, see each other’s tanks, learn each other’s procedures and develop cohesion.

“They get to see what our equipment is and we get to see what their equipment is,” Pierce said. “It helps build a lasting friendship. We are getting to know each other.”

The Marines said the day of cross training allowed them to gain new insights in using their tanks because of the differences in their procedures. For instance, Marines typically gain their BZO by firing at targets 500 meters away while the Jordanians gained their BZO by firing at targets 1,000 meters away.

“The Marines get to see there is not just one way to do something,” Weyrauch said. “They get to learn; even if the equipment is different, even if the training is different they are both hitting targets.”

“It’s a great opportunity to be out here and cross train with the Jordanians,” he added.

During Eager Lion 12, the 24th MEU will participate in a variety of training exercises with partnered nations at different locations throughout the country to increase interoperability and learn about other countries’ militaries. The exercise is a recurring event and designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships through a joint, whole-of-government, multinational approach to future complex national security challenges.