By Rear Adm. William K. Lescher, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group FIVE
Our Navy-Marine Corps team launched participation in the annual U.S. Central Command exercise Eager Lion this week, during which we will be executing training events from multiple locations in Jordan and its littorals over the period June 9-20.
Expeditionary Strike Group FIVE, serving as the maritime component commander, brings the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group; USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50); the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), USS Stockdale (DDG-106), an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team and U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) to the effort. This naval force is part of 19 total nations and more than 8,000 participants in Jordan working toward the shared goal of strengthening regional security and stability.
The amphibious ships and MEU are impressively demonstrating the power of an integrated naval force – the Navy-Marine Corps team – in conducting a complex and rapid build-up of force ashore, followed by fast-paced and closely-integrated live fire training with our Jordanian Armed Forces partners. 26th MEU Marines are leaning forward and eager to work closely with their Jordanian counterparts to strengthen interoperability, proficiency and friendships. Events include field training, multiple live-fire exercises, reconnaissance training and a broad scope of integrated aviation evolutions involving Harriers, Cobras and Ospreys.
USS Stockdale, the EOD and AIT teams are similarly active, conducting visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercises; explosive ordnance disposal drills; at-sea formation drills; and search and rescue exercises with the Royal Jordanian Navy.
Overall, the exercise is superbly demonstrating the capability of our integrated naval team to provide fast, forward and flexible combat power supporting the core U.S. Central Command missions of strengthening regional security and stability, and building multinational partnerships.