By Sgt. 1st Class Brian Barbour
Area Support Group - Jordan
Black Stetson hats, adorned with golden cross sabers, dotted a crowd of cavalrymen sitting quietly inside a small auditorium, awaiting the moment that for some, symbolized the official end to their unit’s mission and for others, the beginning.
In a ceremony at the Joint Training Center in Jordan, the California National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 18th Cavalry Regiment (1-18 CAV) relinquished authority of their mission to the New Jersey National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 102nd Cavalry Regiment (1-102 CAV), March 14, 2019.
The 1-18 CAV finishes their rotation under Operation Spartan Shield which started July of 2018 and included security, unit readiness and partnering with the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) to enhance border security.
“I stand here humbled and thankful for the incredible opportunity we were presented and the extraordinary hospitality and graciousness of our Jordanian hosts,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy T. Hopkins, commander of 1-18 CAV, speaking to an audience of U.S Army and Jordan Armed Forces soldiers.
Hopkins spoke about his Soldiers’ accomplishments and the partnership they developed with JAF Border Guard Force.
“The Soldiers have performed the important mission of providing security for key facilities and improving readiness,” said Hopkins. “They also built relationships with the Jordan Armed Forces and coalition partners. We built those bonds with our Jordanian partners by working side by side through the heat, the cold, the rain and through challenges as we trained to prepare units to secure the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from those that would do it harm.”
A significant portion of the 1-18 CAV’s mission was working with the Border Guard Force through the Jordan Operation Engagement Program (JOEP), the most extensive training program funded by the Counter Terrorism Partnership Fund. It focuses on regional security, partnership building, and enhancing the Jordan Armed Forces’ capability to better defend their country against ISIS and any other violent extremist organizations that may threaten the safety of its people.
Throughout nine months, the 1-18 CAV worked closely with four Border Guard Force battalions, at one point putting two battalions through the 10-week JOEP simultaneously. During those 10-weeks, the squadron helped Border Guard Force battalions develop their soldier’s basic, squad and platoon level skills as well their specialty teams such as medics, indirect fire infantrymen, snipers, and forward observers.
Now a new chapter begins as the 1-120 CAV moves forward to where the 1-18 CAV leaves off.
“As the largest single unit under the Jordanian Operational Engagement Program, or JOEP, we are proud to continue the great work of the 1-18 CAV,” said Lt. Col. Omar T. Minott, commander of the 1-102 CAV.
Minott went on to thank 1-18 CAV and its leadership for the zeal and neighborliness they demonstrated in helping the 1-120 CAV prepare for their mission and for leaving JOEP on a solid foundation for success.
After nine months Soldiers of the 1-18 CAV are ready to go back home to their families and loved ones but will undoubtedly remember their time spent in Jordan and working the JAF.
Hopkins ended his speech, sharing his experiences to the incoming unit.
“It’s now time for us to turn the mission over to the 1-102 CAV’s Lt. Col Minott,” said Hopkins. “I know your squadron has the capabilities and desire to take the Jordan Operational Engagement program and the overall mission to the next level. There’s hard work still to be done, and I know your soldiers are committed Jordan’s security and continued success. The days will be full but time will pass quickly, and the friendships you build will last a lifetime.”
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION