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  • May
  • 2017
24th MEU brings Exercise Eager Lion 17 to a close

By Cpl. Brianna Gaudi, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines and Sailors with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group will bring Exercise Eager Lion 17 to a close May 20, 2017. This exercise is one of several training iterations undertaken by Marines and Sailors during deployment in this region.

Exercise Eager Lion 17 is an annual exercise, and the U.S. Marines participation this year marks the seventh iteration of the training event. Marines and Sailors operated in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, integrating with 20 different nations to share military expertise and enhance interoperability and cooperation with participants.

Over the last two weeks, the 24th MEU was provided the ability to exercise its many capabilities to include flight operations, amphibious assault operations and live-fire ranges enabling U.S. forces to train within the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations increasing operational proficiency.

“Exercise Eager Lion 17 provided Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (REIN) the opportunity to continuously refine aviation operations in challenging environments,” said Maj. Jason Harris, the operations officer for VMM-365. “The higher altitudes and temperatures of Jordan, as well as outstanding landing zones and live fire ranges, allowed the Air Combat Element to showcase the capabilities of our aircraft, our Sailors, and our Marines. We were able to exercise a wide range of our mission sets, to include dusty landings, mountain area training, close air support, convoy operations, and aviation ground support,” said Harris.

Exercises like this one enable the 24th MEU the ability to integrate with multinational forces in a different part of the world which better address common threats to regional security at the operational level as well as provide a unique opportunity to improve capabilities in critical mission-sets inherent to the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team.

“The Female Engagement Team was attached to Lima Co. 3rd Battalion 6th Marine Regiment for the duration of the training exercise, and participated in close quarter drills, company level raids, and training in detainee handling in some of Jordan’s premier Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) facilities located on King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center,” said 1st Lt. Kaitlin Nickelotte, the officer in charge of the FET. “While the emphasis of the FET for the MEU has tended more towards a liaison between females in cultures where men do not typically interact with the females, it is still important to maintain the skills of a basic rifleman. Eager Lion 17 made it possible for the FET to fully integrate with a unit that does not currently have females and illustrated that these women were not only capable, but thrived in the training and are well prepared for any follow on missions,” Nickelotte said.

The 24th MEU will continue to conduct recurring training opportunities like Eager Lion 17 to support the professional development of U.S. forces and military-to-military relationship-development with partnering nations.