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King attends ‘Flag Parade’ to mark Revolt centennial

By JT - Jun 03,2016 - Last updated at Jun 03,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah attends the ‘Flag Parade’ organised by Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army at Al Rayah parade ground in the Royal Hashemite Court to celebrate the Great Arab Revolt centennial on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF), on Thursday attended the “Flag Parade” organised by JAF at Al Rayah parade ground in the Royal Hashemite Court.

The parade, which was the culmination of the Kingdom’s celebrations of the Great Arab Revolt centennial and the Arab Awakening anniversary, was held in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania, HRH Crown Prince Hussein, Royal Family members, senior officials and officers, and 5,000 guests.

Also among the audience were families of some of those who participated in the Great Arab Revolt and families of JAF martyrs, a Royal Court statement said.

Around 1,000 troops participated in the celebration, which also came on the anniversary of the passing away of Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, the leader of the Great Arab Revolt.

The parade began with a march setting off from the JAF Musical Band command by a division of horse and camel cavalries, crossing some 3km through Al Aqsa Street in Amman, which leads to the newly built Al Rayah parade ground, accompanied by infantry units and a JAF Band.

His Majesty drove in the Royal Red Motorcade through the same march route, which was lined with cheering crowds of Jordanian men and women, the statement said.

Arriving to the parade ground, flanked by cavalry units, King Abdullah reached the Royal dais. On a nearby hill, an artillery unit fired a 42-gun salute in honour of the King and the Great Arab Revolt centennial.

His Majesty was received by Crown Prince Hussein, King’s Military Adviser and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Gen. Mashal Al Zaben and the military parade commander, Brig. Gen. Fakher Khleifat.

As the JAF Band played the national anthem, a formation of three helicopters carrying the Great Arab Revolt banner, the Jordanian flag and the JAF flag flew over the parade ground, the statement said.

His Majesty then inspected the military columns and units participating in the parade.

In front of the Royal dais, which the band passed before taking its position at the centre of the square, columns from the Arab Army’s battalions, representing its oldest battalion — the Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah II First Royal Mechanised Battalion, known as “The Mother Unit” — stood to attention. 

“Battalion members, dressed in a historical uniform known as the ‘Jerusalem Attire’, were a reminder of the heroism of the Arab Army in defence of the city and its holy sites,” the statement said.

Troops from the 2nd Royal Armoured Battalion, where King Abdullah started his military service as an armour officer before assuming its command, were also present, in addition to the Khaled Bin Al Waleed 15th Special Missions Battalion as well as the Hamzah Bin Abdul Muttalib, the Master of Martyrs, Special Royal Guards Brigade.

Some 300 musicians from the JAF band performed 42 pieces throughout the parade. 

“Spectators were treated to a number of beloved national music compositions, especially the Great Arab Revolt Anthem,” the statement added. 

The anthem’s lyrics were penned by Arab poet Bechara Al Khoury (Al Akhtal Al Saghir).

“In a symbolic re-enactment of the arrival of the vanguard of the Great Arab Revolt forces and the liberation of Arab land, ‘The Mother Unit’ received the Great Arab Revolt banner from King Abdullah,” the statement said. 

“Adding to the historical symbolism, camel cavalry troops carried the banner to the parade ground, in a scene reminiscent of its arrival to Jordanian land a hundred years ago,” it added.

“The Mother Unit” battalion will carry the banner for one year, after which it will be presented next year to another battalion, in what will become an annual tradition of the Flag Ceremony.

The units participating in the parade started a military step from the Royal dais in a slow and then regular march to the sound of military heritage and national songs.

Highlighting their importance during the Great Arab Revolt, the horse and camel cavalry units also performed a joint display, according to the statement.

The parade then took to the skies of Amman in an air show performed by various formations of Royal Jordanian Air Force aircraft, including helicopters, and modern and old fighter jets.

 

The parade concluded with the participating units saluting His Majesty before marching off.

Profiles of military units taking part in Flag Parade

 

Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army Band:

 

The creation of the band dates back to the days of the establishment of Transjordan in 1921. Made up of 10 bagpipe players, the first music group was formed by order of His Majesty the late King Abdullah I. It then continued developing, until, in 1951, a group for the Royal palaces was formed and given the name the Hashemite Band. A special school for the armed forces band was established in 1966, which helped the band grow into six platoons. In 1981, Al Hussein Bin Talal Wing was formed by order of His Majesty the late King Hussein Bin Talal, may his soul rest in peace. In addition, a women’s wing was formed under Royal directives in 2014. Five of the band’s platoons — made up of 250 musicians — participated in the parade and performed national song melodies and military marches.  

 

The 1st Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah II Royal Mechanised Battalion:

 

As the first battalion to be formed within the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army, this battalion is celebrated as Um Al Jaish (The Mother Unit). It was formed on April 16, 1941 as the First Infantry Battalion. On April 28, 1999, it was named the 1st Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah Mechanised Battalion, which was changed to the 1st Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah II Royal Mechanised Battalion on January 5, 2015. In 1988, the battalion’s badge became a yellow diamond shape with a red shield inside, and a white lance inside the shield. 

The battalion received the King’s Flag on April 4, 2016, and participated in Thursday’s parade through two units, one dressed in the Jerusalem uniform, and another in the Class (A) uniform. It received the Great Arab Revolt banner from the King during Thursday’s ceremony.

 

The 2nd Royal Armoured Battalion:

 

This formation has earned the name “The Battalion of Kings and Princes”, since one of its platoons was led by HRH Prince Abdullah at the time, who had the rank of second lieutenant, before returning to it with the rank of lieutenant colonel and taking over the command of the entire battalion. The battalion was formed on October 15, 1952 as the 2nd Royal Armoured Battalion. In 1961, the first fighting group was created, composed of the 60th Armoured Brigade, with the battalion as part of it. In 1989, its fourth company was formed with its Chieftain tanks, and it continued to serve until 1999.The eagle is the battalion’s badge. The battalion fought battles on Palestinian land alongside the formations of the JAF in 1967. Its members also fought to protect Jordan during internal security events in 1970. It also fought in the 1973 war. The battalion received the King’s Flag on April 4, 2016.

 

Hamzah Bin Abdul Muttalib Royal Guards Brigade (Lion of God):  

 

The Royal Guards Brigade carries the name of Hamzah Bin Abdul Muttalib, known as Sayed Al Shuhadaa (the Master of Martyrs), a companion of Prophet Mohammad. This brigade was founded in 1969, under the name Royal Motorcade Protection Unit. In 1995, a Royal Decree was issued giving this military formation the name Hamzah Bin Abdul Muttalib Royal Guards Brigade. In 1989, the brigade underwent yet another change, switching from a company size formation to a battalion size formation by forming the Mobile Guard Group, the Static Guard Group, the Fire Support and Maintenance Group, the Training Centre Group, the Advance Guard Group and the Special Security Group. In 1994, a new Royal Guard group of mobile and fixed components was entrusted with the security of the Supreme Commander, carrying the name of His Majesty the Supreme Commander Special Security Group. The brigade’s main tasks include the duties of the honour guard. The brigade received the King’s Flag on December 2, 2015. The brigade participated in the parade with three groups.

 

The 15th Khaled Bin Al Waleed Special Tasks Battalion: 

 

On December 30, 1956, the battalion was formed as the 15th Infantry Battalion. Until 1957, it was composed of four rifle companies, one command and headquarters company and one support company. In 2013, it became a special tasks battalion. The battalion has participated in a number of battles fought by the JAF, defending the area of Kfar Asion in Palestine in 1967. It also had a major role in Karameh Battle, defending Ghor Al Safi. Moreover, it was involved in maintaining internal security between 1970 and 1972. On December 2, 2015, the battalion received the King’s Flag. 

 

Camels Unit:

 

The unit was part of the very first formations of the Arab Army in 1929. In 1986, the unit was re-formed and bolstered with three companies, headquartered in Shabaka in the Harrah area on the Jordanian-Syrian border. In 2012, it relocated to the Azraq area, where it continues to be based. The unit participating in the show comprises 60 camels and its members are dressed in the traditional cavalry garb, whose design dates back a hundred years.

 

Gendarmerie Cavalry Unit:

 

The Gendarmerie Cavalry Unit was formed in 2012. In 2014, an office at the Gendarmerie Forces General Directorate was established to maintain the operations of the unit.The unit uses horses of the strong Portuguese Lusitano breed, which is capable of undertaking security-related duties. In 2015, His Majesty King Abdullah inaugurated the Gendarmerie Forces Cavalry Unit. The unit participated in the parade with 45 riders from the Royal Honour Guard Group and the Gendarmerie Forces.

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