October 19, 2010 (by TSgt. Chyenne A. Adams) - Falcon Air Meet 2010 officially kicked off Oct. 19 at Azraq Royal Jordanian Air Base in the country of Jordan.
Capt. Bailyn Beck prepares F-16C block 50 #91-0395 from the 55th FS for take-off on October 18th, 2010 as part Falcon Air Meet 2010 at Azraq AB. [USAF photo by SSgt. Eric Harris]
The two-week exercise brings servicemembers from various countries together to share doctrine and procedures, strengthen relationships, and improve regional security. A friendly competition is also a highlight of the exercise that provides unique training experiences.
Royal Jordanian Air Force Brig. Gen. Yousef Al-Hnaity, the Azraq Air Base commander, is host to teams from four nations, including his own country of Jordan
, and teams from the United Arab Emirates
, and the U.S. Navy and Air Force.
"The Jordanians are impeccable hosts," said Maj. Gerrod McLellan, the Air Force Central Command exercise lead officer. "They are more than willing to engage with us on all levels. We're building relationships and enhancing interoperability between us and our regional partners in all aspects of flight, ground and maintenance operations, fire, civil engineering, force protection, medical, fuels and weapons storage."
The Jordanians have invited the U.S. and other partners to this location for several years, but about four years ago, the event became a more formal exercise and competition, with more nations participating each year.
According to Major McLellan, the event previously focused more on F-16 competition, but recently has evolved into a more fully rounded exercise, with a concentration on modern warfare tactics and close-air support operations.
"We began planning for this year as soon as last year was complete," the major said. "There's a lot involved in planning something of this magnitude, but the experience is so rewarding that it's worth the work. There are so many people (who) put their heart and soul into their jobs, ensuring that everything here goes as smoothly as possible. There's just not enough kudos to go around to the forces involved and our magnificent hosts."
Active-duty and Guard troops from more than 13 units across the Air Force have built a small U.S. military compound on the grounds of the Jordanian air force base to support more than 250 U.S. servicemembers on the ground.
This contingent includes 65 U.S. Navy counterparts from an aircraft carrier currently docked nearby in the Persian Gulf.
The exercise and competition wraps up Nov. 2 with closing ceremonies, but the awards are not the important part of this exercise, the major said.
"The relationships we build are what is important out of all this," he said. "The military men and women from the United States of America are proud to be here. We love teaching and learning alongside our joint partners. We're proud to do what we do. It's how we roll."