By Wendy ArevaloSeptember 5, 2019
JORDAN -1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) and 858th Movement Control Team (MCT) Soldiers participated in Eager Lion 2019, overseeing the movement of U.S. military personnel and equipment to and from training destinations.
Eager Lion, which commenced Aug. 25, is the U.S. Central Command's largest and most complex exercise, held annually in Jordan. The exercise is designed to exchange military expertise and improve interoperability among partner nations. This year's iteration includes participation from 30 nations and is considered the capstone of a broader U.S. military relationship with the Jordan Armed Forces.
The 858th MCT, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Bay City, Mich., and 1st TSC Soldiers planned, coordinated and oversaw the transportation of approximately 3,200 U.S. military personnel and their equipment to training destinations at various locations throughout Jordan.
Lt. Col. Craig Johnson, G37 training and exercises officer in charge, 1st TSC, discussed why movement control is crucial to operation success.
"In order to set conditions for the exercise, the movement control and accountability piece is absolutely essential," Johnson said. "Bottom line is, if everything isn't in place on time, the exercise is going to be off its schedule."
Johnson said planning for this year's exercise started back in October 2018.
"There's a huge amount of planning goes into it, about 10 months of planning. As soon as one is over they start planning the next one," he said. "This one's a little more dynamic because of the multi-national flavor of it."
They team was also responsible for overseeing the movement of personnel and equipment to their departure location, upon completion of the exercise.
Johnson discussed the challenges of providing movement control during an exercise of this scale.
"It's constant coordination because flights are getting delayed, or re-routed, so it's constant coordination through the exercise," Johnson said. "And at the tail end, everything in reverse, but the bottleneck is customs, so we have to make sure we meet U.S. and Jordanian standards of customs for equipment."
For Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Monger, movement control noncommissioned officer, 1st TSC, this was his second year participating in Eager Lion. In this year's exercise, his role included working with all service components to ensure they were kept up to date on the movement of their personnel and equipment and to assist with any issues that arose, such as last minute movements, or finding alternate means to move personnel or equipment.
"The rewarding part of this exercise for me is working with all armed forces components as well as the host nation forces," said Monger. "With this year's exercise, I've been fortunate to work with a vast variety of nations."
The 1st TSC team also provided personnel accountability-keeping the U.S. embassy in Amman informed on how many U.S. military personnel were in country on a daily basis.
In addition, the team provided food service oversight-conducting inspections at all food service locations to ensure food safety and cleanliness.
Johnson said one thing that can be learned from this type of exercise is how we work with our multinational partners.
"What we glean from this is how to be interoperable with Jordan," he said. "We have a basis of understanding in how they operate and if we have to do something in a coalition environment, how would we blend those systems and processes together and make them merge with the Jordanians."