JBLM Soldiers, JAF hold Operation Flexible Saif
November 8, 2011
By Cpl. Jordan Johnson
Third Army/ARCENT Public Affairs
Near AMMAN, Jordan -- Soldiers forming a Task Force from 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, recently participated in Operation Flexible Saif with members of the Jordanian Armed Forces.
Throughout the exercise, Soldiers took on an advise and assist role, trained JAF personnel and provided leadership training for their Jordanian counterparts.
"We are building platoon and company level battle drill skills in order to prepare them for future operations," said Lt. Col. Patrick Quinn, commander, Task Force 1-94 FA (-) and St. Louis native. "They're making progress as we go through this training."
Prior to departing the U.S., members of the task force spent months refining their skills and preparing for dual roles as performers and instructors.
"Our pre-deployment training was about 90 days," Quinn stated. "We did our own mission readiness exercise, very similar to what we're doing here, out at the Yakima Training Center. We trained not only on the battle drills we needed to conduct here in Jordan, but also on how to become better instructors. There's a difference between doing and teaching; we had to be competent in both."
Those assigned to teach JAF personnel covered a wide variety of tasks and drills. Instructors first went over basic Soldiering skills, then advanced to more sophisticated topics.
"We are training the JAF soldiers in different phases," said Staff Sgt. Edward Johnson, construction equipment repairman, 1-94 FA (-) and Albany, Ga. Native. "We started at skill level one, which covers individual tasks. Then, we moved up to skill levels two and three, which are more advanced tasks involving leadership roles."
Following weeks of training exercises on humanitarian aid assistance, traffic control point procedures, intelligence gathering and many other security operations techniques, U.S. and Jordanian forces participated in situational training exercise lanes.
"Today we had a scenario where the JAF was supposed to have a key leader engagement," Pvt. first class Michael Limpert, multiple launch rocket systems fire directional specialist, 1-94 FA (-) and Gainesville, Fla. native said. "I played the role of a suicide bomber. After the bomb went off, they performed nine-line medical evacuations and casualty aid."
After going through multiple scenarios with the JAF, Limpert saw improvements in the trainees.
"They are improving in their organization," stated Limpert. "They have a better understanding of where people need to go."
When improvement is evident, not only are the personnel being trained gaining knowledge, but also the teachers get to walk away with a satisfied feeling, Quinn said.
"There's nothing any noncommissioned officer likes more than seeing a Soldier he's been training improve," said Quinn. "Those small-level steps of improvement, even in a Jordanian soldier, are significant for any of our NCO/instructors when he's teaching a task."
Having spent the last decade on a battlefield, U.S. Servicemembers developed first-hand knowledge of techniques and strategies that work. JAF personnel came to this training mission with an open mind and open ears, said Johnson.
"The JAF are very receptive to the tactical knowledge and the skills we bring to the table," Johnson stated. "With training of their own, they are already skilled, but we're providing some of our skills and knowledge."
Both countries involved with this exercise came away with an even better understanding of each other, and solidified the relationship between the nations.
"This partnership will build a stronger alliance with the Jordanians," stated Johnson. "We both benefit from this partnership."
Third Army is shaping the future of the U.S. Central Command area of operations by holding mutually beneficial training exercises and maintaining strong partnerships with countries in the AOR.