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Falcon Air Meet 2010
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Zach Goodwin, a native of Nashville Tenn., conducts pre-flight checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon as it prepares for takeoff as part of The Falcon Air Meet 2010 at Azraq Air Base, Jordan, Oct. 18, 2010. Airman Goodwin is assigned to the 77th Aircraft Maintenance Unit from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Harris) (RELEASED)
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Jordan, U.S. exercise commences in Middle East

Posted 10/18/2010   Updated 10/21/2010 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Chyenne A. Adams
AFCENT Public Affairs

10/18/2010 - JORDAN -- Falcon Air Meet 2010 officially kicked off today at Azraq Royal Jordanian Air Base in the country of Jordan. The two-week exercise brings military members from various countries together to share doctrine and procedures, strengthen relationships, and improve regional security. A friendly competition is also a highlight of the exercise that provides unique training experiences for all involved.

RJAF Brig. Gen. Yousef Al-Hnaity, Azraq Air Base commander, is host to teams from four nations - including his own country of Jordan, and teams from United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and the United States Navy and Air Force.

"The Jordanians are impeccable hosts," said Maj. Gerrod "G-Rod" McLellan, Air Force Central Command exercise lead officer. "They are more than willing to engage with us on all levels. We're building relationships and enhancing interoperability between us and our regional partners in all aspects of flight, ground and maintenance operations, fire, civil engineering, force protection, medical, fuels and weapons storage."

The Jordanians have invited the United States and other partners to this location for several years, but about four years ago the event became a more formal exercise and competition, with more nations participating each year.

According to Major McLellan, the event previously was more of an F-16 based competition, but recently has evolved into a more fully-rounded exercise with a concentration on modern warfare tactics and close air support operations.

"We began planning for this year as soon as last year was complete," said the major. "There's a lot involved in planning something of this magnitude, but the experience is so rewarding that it's worth the work. There are so many people that put their heart and soul into their jobs - ensuring that everything here goes as smoothly as possible. There's just not enough kudos to go around to the forces involved and our magnificent hosts."

Active-duty and Guard troops from more than 13 units across the entire U.S. Air Force have built up a small U.S. military compound on the grounds of the Jordanian air force base to house, feed and enable more than 250 American military troops on the ground.

This contingent includes 65 U.S. Navy counterparts from an aircraft carrier currently docked nearby in the Persian Gulf.

The U.S. Air Force footprint here includes six F-16s, and one KC-10; the Navy brings six FA-18s and one E-2. They are joined by F-16 fighter squadrons from the Jordanian Royal Air Force, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

The exercise and competition wraps up Nov. 2 with closing ceremonies, but according to the major the awards are not the important part of this exercise.

"The relationships we build are what is important out of all this," he said. "The military men and women from the United States of America are proud to be here - we love teaching and learning alongside our joint partners. We're proud to do what we do - it's how we roll."

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