Moments after fighter aircraft pummeled the exercise area with bombs, U.S. Marine and Jordanian armored vehicles advanced into it while low-flying AH1-F Cobra attack helicopters zoomed past them to provide cover. Each action was precise, taking place on cue and impressing the assembled military and civilian observers.
Brig. Gen. Gregg Olson, commander of Task Force 51/59 and in charge of the amphibious forces deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet, commanded the American contingent during the drill that marked the culmination of the two-week exercise involving 12,000 military personnel from 22 nations — 6,000 of them from the U.S. military.
U.S. officials acknowledged that the demonstration Thursday was somewhat artificial compared to how it would play out in real life. But those involved in planning the drill said the intent is to enhance the Jordanian and U.S. militaries’ understanding of each other’s capabilities, proving both countries’ armed forces are able to operate together. […]