NEWS | July 11, 2020

Task Force Spartan Soldiers participate in Jordanian Operational Engagement Program (JOEP) Graduation

By Story by Maj. Jean Kratzer Task Force Spartan

After a laborious 14 weeks of training, Soldiers with the Jordan Armed Forces’ 4th Royal Guard Mechanized Battalion graduated from the Jordanian Operational Engagement Program July 9, 2020.

Since March, Soldiers of Task Force Spartan, led by the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division, have taken part in two separate rotations of the JOEP's training, as well as a JOEP Instructor Training Course (ITC). Currently, The Illinois Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, is conducting the training, with Task Force Spartan – Jordan, providing oversight and maintaining situational awareness of the program.

The rigorous JOEP 14-week training program focuses on everything from individual rifle marksmanship to advanced company-sized maneuvers, while the ITC selects previous graduates and molds them into future JOEP trainers.

"Our current primary task of conducting the JOEP cycle with the Jordan Armed Forces' 4th Prince Hassan Mechanized Battalion is off to a great start,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Settle of 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment. “The feedback we are getting from our JAF counterparts is we are more alike than we are different, but that doesn't mean the training doesn't come without challenges."

The courses enable a strong partnership between the U.S. and Jordan Armed Forces, helping to increase the readiness of the Jordanian forces, as well as develop professional and competent Jordanian instructors who will go forward to lead the JOEP training.

“Our work to support the security of Jordan and promote the stability of the region is as important as ever. Our nations must be ready to face new and complex threats in the future. Nowhere is this more felt than with the work of the 130th Infantry and the 4th Royal Guard Mechanized Battalion here in Jordan. The training between these two units serves as an example of our highly successful military partnership." said Col. Andrew Caliendo, the officer in charge of Task Force Spartan - Jordan.

"Having the opportunity to work and learn with the JAF Soldiers is a fantastic opportunity; it is one that most people from Illinois will never get to realize. It is important that we as Soldiers and leaders of our communities take the time to observe and grow from experiencing a new culture," added Settle.

"It has been a privilege to get the opportunity to work with the 4th Mechanized Battalion over the past few weeks, and we look forward to working with them through their graduation of JOEP," said Capt. Mitchell Langan, commander of Headquarters Company, 2-130th Infantry, also in charge of the training for the 4th Royal Guard Mechanized Battalion.

“The friendship between the people of Jordan and the United States continues to grow stronger with each training opportunity, and it is through programs such as the JOEP, that we will continue to strengthen the highly successful military partnership between our two nations.” added Caliendo.

More than 100 Soldiers took part in the training and the program graduation ceremony where graduating Soldiers received a certificate formalizing their completion of training and providing them something to celebrate their time with their partners from the 2-130th Infantry.

Key leaders representing the JAF were Staff Gen. Khaleel Aldajah, Col. Raad Alamarah, Col. Khalid Alawaisheh, and Lt. Col. Osama Abu Alamash.

“We thank very much our American friends for their cooperation in the sequence of training for our battalion,” said Osama, Commander of the 4th Royal Guard.

“The Jordan-American relations have been characterized by coherence and based on the common interests of two countries,” added Khaleel, in his remarks.

"I would like to congratulate each and every one of the Soldiers here today for completing the challenging course. Your accomplishments have helped set the conditions for the continued success of JOEP, and with God's help, our collective efforts will continue to preserve safety and stability for the people of Jordan and the people of the United States," concluded Caliendo.

The U.S. Army is in Jordan to partner with the Jordan Armed Forces in meeting common security challenges in the Middle East. Jordan is not only one of U.S.'s closest allies in the region, but in the world.