July 7, 2007 (by Capt. Nicole David) - In May 2007, members of the 140th Wing Colorado ANG returned to Jordan as judges for the second annual Falcon Air Meet (FAM) hosted by the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF).
F-16s from Jordan, the U.S., Turkey and Belgium fly in diamond formation over Ajloun Castle during Falcon Air Meet 2007 on May 23rd. [USAF photo by Capt. Nicole David]
Colorado and Jordan
are linked together through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, a program designed to link states with various countries for the purpose of fostering mutual interests and establishing long-term relationships across all levels of society. Because of this partnership, the RJAF
requested the Colorado Air Guard to help implement last year’s FAM and return as judges for this year’s meet.
“The State Partnership with Jordan has been a great benefit for Colorado. It’s given the State of Colorado an opportunity to be a player in world politics in fostering a great relationship with one of our best allies in the region. Jordan has been instrumental in maintaining regional security and has been a great partner with the United States,” said Col. Greg Graf, Director of Operations, Joint Force Headquarters, Colorado Air National Guard.
The goal of the Falcon Air Meet is to train and work through friendly competition between the air forces of the U.S., Middle East, and other F-16 users from around the world. In this year’s meet, F-16 units from Belgium
, Jordan, and the U.S., specifically the 55th Fighter Squadron from Shaw AFB
, competed in the areas of maintenance and operations centered around Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The competition events consisted of a four-ship formation arrival, a scramble launch, air-to-air dog fighting, weapons loading, and air-to-ground bombing. In addition to the scored events, the four countries also trained with each other in Basic Fighter Maneuvers, Air Combat Training, and Large Force Employment, as well as overall sortie generation.
Also among the competing countries were observers from Bahrain
, Kuwait, Netherlands
, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates
. Each of these countries came to observe the competition in hopes of participating in FAM 2008.
“This is a great opportunity to get the top engineers, crew chiefs, and pilots together to exchange ideas and experiences to be able to have a dialog. That is why it is nicest in a competition atmosphere because the best always want to learn, they’re always ready to learn and expand their knowledge. And this is basically at the end of the day what we are trying to achieve – an opportunity for people to learn from each other and hopefully develop life-long friendships,” said His Royal Highness Prince Feisal bin Al-Hussein, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces.
Colonel Buck Sams, CENTAF Detachment Commander, pointed out that the Americans have gained a lot of knowledge and confidence in the other participating countries during their time in Jordan.
“If we ever need to fight in combat with F-16s along beside the Jordanians, Belgians, or Turks, we know that they will do a very good job, as they have proven it during the Falcon Air Meet.”
The Falcon Air Meet was a vision of His Royal Highness Prince Feisal. Also in attendance this year was Prince Feisal’s brother and King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein. Their vision is an ongoing reality and the Royal Jordanian Air Force hopes to host Falcon Air Meet 2008 next year.