AMMAN, Jordan – U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with the South Carolina National Guard worked as the Combined Forces Headquarters (CFHQ) in the Higher Control (HICON) in Amman, Jordan, in support of the ninth year of the multinational Exercise Eager Lion.
The South Carolina National Guard provided direction for the exercise, which allows partner nations to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures in the field.
"Specific to this exercise I think having an ongoing relationship with [Army Central Command] being at Shaw Air Force Base is important," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Brad Owens, South Carolina National Guard director of the joint staff. "We owe it to our Soldiers who have endured 16 years of war to maintain that operations capability, and the way to do that is to project power overseas and to represent our state and legacy in those who have come before us."
The exercise in August and September helped build a relationship between the U.S. and Jordanian military, creating a more stable force. South Carolina National Guard leadership trained officers and non-commissioned officers to work in a higher headquarters at a theater-level.
Owens said he was very pleased "that a lot of our Soldiers have never really worked at the battalion or brigade-level, and now we are introducing a whole new scenario where they're working at the strategic and theater-level operations."
More than 8,000 multinational troops have participated in Eager Lion over nine years, including 3,200 military personnel. This was the second year the South Carolina National Guard was involved in Jordan.
The exercise allowed several Soldiers the opportunity to not only work with partner nations but to travel outside the United States and experience new cultures.
"Being my first time out of the country with the military, this exercise has been a great experience allowing me to learn and work with individuals I never thought I would get to work with," said U.S. Army Sgt. Amelia Jackson, acting Combined Forces Headquarters (CFHQ) intelligence Request for Information (RFI) manager for exercise Eager Lion.
The South Carolina National Guard may play a small role in exercise Eager Lion, but members learned new skills they can take back to their units, allowing them to have a better understanding of a Combined Force Land Component Command and CJTF and how coalition forces come together to develop a headquarters and interact with each other.
"Although it may only be [about 50] people coming to Jordan for a 10- to 15-day exercise, it's still a tremendous amount of responsibility and I think we have done well representing our state and the nation," said Owens.