Marines, Jordanians strike back during Exercise Eager Lion 12

5 Jun 2012 | Staff Sgt. Robert Fisher

Marine pilots with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, flew a simulated live-fire counterattack with the Jordanian Air Force here, May 24, during Exercise Eager Lion 12.

The counterattack was one of the final events in this year’s Eager Lion in a joint effort between Marines and Jordanians combining air and ground forces.

“Jordanian Air Force and Marines have been practicing together ever since we arrived in the country by sharing and discussing tactical maneuvering and how to integrate aerial fires with ground fires,” said Capt. Ethan Krumnow, 30, Cobra pilot and Oak Creek, Ill., native.

The joint training began with briefs and discussions on flight formations and maneuvering. It then progressed to mixed section then mixed division flights before concluding with a live-fire joint flight.

“This was the culminating event,” said Maj. Dale Behm, HMLA-269 detachment officer in charge.

The pinnacle of this exercise for the Cobra pilots was being able to fly seven total aircraft with live rounds and successfully strike a target together, according to Behm.

“It’s a bilateral flight with three different aircraft in support of a ground scheme maneuver and friendly indirect fire,” said Krumnow, who led the joint flight.

The flight included the Marine AH-1W Cobra and UH-1N Huey along with the Jordanian AH-1F Cobra.

The counterattack exercise consisted of Marine Harriers kicking off the drill with a bang before the Cobras moved in to strike their target box. Then the Marines and Jordanian soldiers on the ground made the final push to complete the drill.

With their final bilateral flight behind them, the Marines gained experience and built new bonds with their fellow pilots from the Jordanian Air Force.

“It has been an exceptional growth opportunity for both nations and we look forward to continuing and fostering our relationship,” said Krumnow. “It’s rare we get everybody together with a mission like this one and then throw in the Jordanian Cobras and it’s pretty cool.”

Eager Lion 12 is an international training exercise with more than 19 countries and approximately 11,000 participants designed to promote cooperation and military-to-military relationships among participating forces. The exercise scenario is intended to portray realistic, modern-day security challenges.