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Feature Stories

NEWS | June 13, 2020

Washington Army National Guard completes Jordan rotation, transfers mission to the Illinois Guard

By Capt. Ernest Wang Area Support Group - Jordan

The 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment (1-303 CAV), Washington Army National Guard, completed their partnership mission with the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) this Thursday.

In a transfer of authority ceremony, the 1-303 CAV turned over the Jordan Operational Engagement Program (JOEP) to the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment (2-130 IN), Illinois Army National Guard.

“We gather today to close out one chapter of JOEP and open the next,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Ozmer, Squadron Commander of the 1-303 CAV. “As with all stories, we know that the next chapter will be even better than the last.”

The JOEP is one of the largest training programs funded by Title 10, U.S. Code Section 333, and consists of 14-week training cycles between the U.S. Army and the JAF. 

The 1-303 CAV began their JOEP mission in November of last year.  

Though the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to a temporary pause in training, JOEP has since resumed with safety measures in place to protect both U.S. and Jordanian Soldiers.

Lt. Col. Ozmer and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. John Hurt, the senior enlisted member of the 1-303 CAV, cased their colors during the ceremony, while the 2-130 IN leadership, Lt. Col. Gregory Settle and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Sowash, unfurled theirs, as is customary in U.S. Army transfers of authority.

In his farewell remarks, Ozmer congratulated the 1-303 CAV Troopers for their mission's success.

“Return home knowing you have taken part in something bigger than yourself [that is] representative of what our two governments stand for: strength through unity, and inclusion."

Ozmer also thanked the JAF for their hospitality and collaboration.

“The sergeant major and I feel that 'partner' is not a strong enough word for how we feel toward our Jordanian counterparts. What JOEP created for our squadron was not just a partnership, nor merely a multinational cooperation effort, but something far more meaningful and uncommon: a true friendship.”

Lt. Col. Settle thanked the 1-303 CAV for their accomplishments and the smooth transition.

“You have set the conditions for our unit to take the reins and build upon your tremendous foundation. You have left very large shoes to fill, but I can confidently say that we are ready to take on the mission.”

JOEP was founded in 2014, and has since seen thousands of U.S. and Jordanian Soldiers train together to enhance U.S.-Jordan interoperability.

The U.S. and Jordan have partnered closely for decades to meet common security challenges in the region, including the defeat of terrorist organizations.

“When we stood up JOEP, the Islamic State was standing on the border of Jordan,” said Col. David Kobs, the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan. “It was a national priority of the United States to reinforce our close allies in this region.”

Jordan remains a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and has made critical contributions to increasing the prospects for sustainable peace.