Special Tactics Trains in Bilateral Eager Lion Exercise

AQABA, Jordan (Maj Tiffany Collins)– U.S. Air Force Special Tactics teams train with Jordanian special operations forces in personnel recovery techniques during Eager Lion 2016. This is one of the first times Special Tactics provided command and control of an exercise joint-task force, directing U.S. Army and Jordanian SOF teams in Air Force ground missions such as personnel recovery and precision strike. Exercise Eager Lion 2016 consisted of simulated real-world scenarios to facilitate a coordinated partnered military response to conventional and unconventional threats. The addition of this SOF asset enhances U.S. and Jordanian effectiveness and capability to respond to real-world crises and threats.

However, this year’s bi-lateral exercise showcased the lesser-known SOF ground component in a big way, providing valuable insight into Air Force Special Tactic’s unique air/ground capabilities and background.

While Special Tactics Airmen have built partnership capacity at Eager Lion in the past, this is one of the first times Special Tactics provided command and control of an exercise joint-task force. With an O-5 jointly led with a Jordanian commander, Special Tactics directed U.S. Army and Jordanian SOF teams in Air Force ground missions such as personnel recovery and precision strike.

“Special Tactics teams are training side-by-side with our U.S. and Jordanian SOF counterparts to execute personnel recovery, precision strike and global access missions. These exercises fuse air power to ground special operations in joint, combined, and unilateral teams,” said Lt. Col. Mike Jensen, the commander of the 26th Special Tactics who led the joint command with the Jordanian commander of the 101st Special Forces Battalion.

Since 9/11, Air Force Special Tactics has been involved in every major operation, using air power to solve ground problems.

Originally called Brand X upon creation in the early1970s, this small group of highly-skilled Airmen have been developed throughout the years to provide the U.S. military with tactical air-to-ground integration. The force, consisting of less than 1,200 operators, is a vital asset to U.S. Special Operations Command and the global SOF community. In addition to moving, shooting and communicating like other SOF partners, Special Tactics teams can control airspace and survey airfields, direct air and ground strikes and provide tactical rescue and surgery in hostile or remote territories.

“Air Force Special Tactics forces are uniquely qualified to command and control these air-centric special operations missions,” said Jensen. “This exercise provided an exceptional opportunity to apply joint airpower to ground missions and forge relationships with our Jordanian partners as they combat common asymmetric threats.”

Exercise Eager Lion 2016 consisted of simulated real-world scenarios to facilitate a coordinated partnered military response to conventional and unconventional threats. The addition of this SOF asset enhances U.S. and Jordanian effectiveness and capability to respond to real-world crises and threats.

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