By Capt. Briana McFarlandApril 2, 2018
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) welcomed Soldiers assigned to the 449th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), Task Force Spartan, to participate in a bi-lateral aviation exchange in Jordan, Feb. 21 to March 1.
This exchange was one of many scheduled visits to Jordan for the 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment (Assault) and the 248th Aviation Support Battalion, both units with the 449th CAB. The purpose is to strengthen the partnership with RJAF members and further develop maintenance strategies, flight standardization best practices and operational scheme of maneuver for their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter program.
The long-term goal of the program is to increase U.S. Army and RJAF interoperability and to conduct larger joint missions. Staff Sgt. Roger Cuevas, a quality control technician for D Company, 244th Assault Helicopter Battalion, was able to observe the RJAF maintenance program and speak with the chief engineer in the RJAF's quality control shop about some of their challenges.
"It was important for our unit to better understand the situation the Jordanian UH-60 program was facing," said Cuevas. "By personally meeting with the various squadrons, we were able to develop a relationship and compile information to better assist them with their UH-60 program."
A key effort for the RJAF is the incorporation of Crew Chiefs into their squadrons. This is new to them because of rotary platform previously flown. Crew chiefs are responsible for everything that happens in a helicopter to include the crews and equipment.
A key task for the 449th CAB soldiers was to instill the U.S. air crew culture within the RJAF community to demonstrate the vital roles and responsibilities of crew chiefs in all air operations and crew coordination.
"By having crew members in the rear, it's like having eyes in the back of your head with a 360-degree field of view. It's crucial when flying two or more aircraft that crew members keep a constant visual on the other aircraft(s) to ensure proper distance and avoid safety incidents, said Cuevas."
Leaders assigned to the 449th CAB were able to meet with Maj. Gen. Yousef Al-Hnaity, the RJAF Commander to discuss the U.S. and Jordanian partnership goals and strategies. Some of the strategic objectives for the air force are border security, counterterrorism and civil defensive operations and the quick reaction force.
The two U.S. Army battalions observed the Jordanian army's internal Jordanian Collective Training Exercise that conducted infiltration, resupply and exfiltration operations in support of Exercise Olive Grove, a multilateral exercise between Jordan, the United Kingdom, and Canada, that exercises quick reaction forces' ability to conduct infiltration, resupply, and exfiltration. This gave U.S. Soldiers the ability to see the standard operation procedures used when conducting missions.
"I had nothing but good vibes from all of them," said Cuevas. "They treated us with the upmost respect."