Almost 300 U.S. and Jordanian military personnel have been taking part in naval military training on the USS Stockdale which is currently docked in the port of Aqaba.
The training is part of the Eager Lion military exercise, set to take place in Jordan between June 9-20. This is an annual multi-national exercise designed to focus on facing irregular warfare, as well as terrorism and national security threats.
Members of the media were taken on a tour of the warship ahead of the training exercise.
The exercise also aims to promote military relationships among the participants consisting of 8,000 participants from 19 countries.
“The type of exercises we're doing here involve search and rescue training, so finding people who are lost at sea, or if we have a man overboard, how we would recover them. We're also doing what's called VBSS training, which is visit board search and seizure, where we would do boarding operations, our boarding team working in conjunction with the Jordanian boarding team, on tactics and techniques we would use to board a vessel. We're also going to be doing shipboard maneuvering operations,” explained Commander Bo Johns, Captain of the USS Stockdale.
The commander added that, despite the large and advanced U.S. navy, the training program is one in which both parties can learn,
“You would think that perhaps the US bringing a ship that's really much bigger than the Jordanian navy has, it would be rather one-sided, but that's not the case, it's a two way conversation, two way learning process. Many of the Jordanian officers have experience doing some of the boarding operations, and we're taking advantage of that, we are learning from that. Likewise, some of the training that we've done we can bring that to bear, and help the Jordanians develop their skills as well.”
There was some speculation that the United States could consider extending the deployment of Patriot missiles and F-16 fighter jets beyond the end of the Eager Lion military exercises.
Jordan is a key U.S. ally in the region and one of the Arab countries that backs the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting insurgents in a two-year-old civil war that has killed 80,000 people.