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U.S. Marine and Jordan Air Force Cobras share sky above Eager Lion 12

7 Jun 2012 | Staff Sgt. Robert Fisher 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

U.S. Marine pilots with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit flew several bilateral flights with the Jordanian Air Force in support of Exercise Eager Lion May 15-19.

These flights allowed the Marines, from the 24th MEU’s Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Reinforced), to familiarize each other with flying together. This would, in turn, facilitate future training opportunities scheduled during the exercise, according to Maj. Dale Behm, the Cobra’s squadron detachment officer-in-charge.

The flight included the Marine AH-1W Cobra and the Jordanian AH-1F Cobra.

“The purpose of the flight was to get them up together and practice flying in formation, practice working together,” said Behm. “It was good flying with a different aircraft from another nation because there are a whole lot of considerations when we fly with other aircraft.”

Several factors—and how the Marines and Jordanians reacted to those factors—would establish the pattern for future flights. These flights would enable the Marines and Jordanians to become comfortable with each other.

“It was a familiarization flight to see how we do business, how we use the radio, how we fly, how we call formations,” said Capt. James C. Thompson, 31, Cobra pilot and Providence, R.I., native.

The opportunity allowed the pilots to learn from each other and cultivate a relationship to facilitate future training opportunities.

“It was pretty cool flying with another variant of the Cobra, especially from another country,” said Capt. Emmanuel P. Jacinto, 33, Cobra pilot. “It was a good experience.”

Eager Lion 12 is an international training exercise with more than 19 countries and 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.

The 24th MEU is scheduled to continue with bilateral training throughout the month of May at Exercise Eager Lion 12.