EL PASO, Texas - Fort Bliss Commanding General Sean B. MacFarland and Command Sgt. Major Kelley announced late last week they were making a short trip to Jordan to observe Exercise Eager Lion.
Eager Lion is a recurring annual military exercise designed to strengthen tactical proficiency in critical mission areas, support long-term relationships, and enhance regional security and stability by responding to modern-day security scenarios.
MacFarland also said in his June 12 Fort Bliss Monitor column that they would be taking the opportunity to visit with the 1AD planning staff in Jordan.
About 200 U.S. soldiers of the 1st Armored Division based at Fort Bliss deployed to Jordan in April to provide a nucleus of command and control capabilities if the fighting in Syria spills over into Jordan. About 120,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan to escape the country's civil war.
The United States could leave Patriot anti-missile batteries and F-16 fighter jets in Jordan following the end of Exercise Eager Lion, a Pentagon spokesman said June 5.
The Patriot batteries and F-16s are going to Jordan to take part in Eager Lion – an annual exercise that this year encompasses 19 nations and about 8,000 service members. It is scheduled to start June 9 and to run through June 20.
Jordan has requested the batteries, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has not yet reviewed it, Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters. Hagel is returning from NATO meetings in Brussels today.
"When the secretary receives the request, he will favorably consider it," Warren said. "Jordan is a strong partner with us. We have a longstanding and strong relationship with the Jordanians, and we want to do what we can to support their security requirements."