JORDAN: U.S. Army Soldiers with Charlie Company,1st Combined Arms Battalion, 252 Armor Regiment (1-252 AR), 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) known as, “Old Hickory,” North Carolina Army National Guard (NCANG), in collaboration with Military Engagement Team-Jordan (MET-J), 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB), Arizona Army National Guard (AZANG), conducted a two-week Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) on the BGM-71 Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wireless-guided (TOW) Weapon System with the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) at a base outside of Amman, Jordan in December 2019.
The TOW weapon system, originally developed by the Hughes Aircraft Company in the 1960s, is a heavy anti-tank guided missile that currently falls under the Raytheon brand. The weapon system is known for its effective destruction of tanks and can be fired from varying platforms including high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles and helicopters.
U.S Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Edmonson, with Charlie Company, 1-252 AR, 30th ABCT, NCANG, was one of the subject matter experts who participated in the information exchange. According to him, the TOW is a unique weapon system due to its range capabilities and extreme firepower.
“They [ the TOW] can do astronomical damage, even to the biggest tank that they would face on the battlefields,” said Edmonson.
The JAF practiced familiarization with the TOW system in four-man teams, each Soldier completing a different task that is needed to operate the weapon.
“Their [JAF] key NCOs [noncommissioned officers] are very knowledgeable on this system, they know their ranges, how to guestimate ranges,” explained Edmonson, “If these guys move[ JAF Soldiers], or their senior NCOs move and go somewhere else, all these guys have the same amount of training to bring them up.”
The 30th ABCT has roots tracing back to WWI when it was known as the 30th Infantry Division. Their nickname, “Old Hickory,” gives tribute to the U.S.’s seventh president, the late Andrew Jackson; the original division was comprised of NG units from areas where he resided.
MET-J facilitates and conducts military-to-military engagements with regional partners within the U.S. Army Central in order to build military partner capability and capacity, enhance interoperability and build relationships. They are a part of the Jordan Operational Engagement Program, the largest training program funded by Title 10 USC Section 333. Jordan and the U.S. have a strong and enduring partnership in regard to joint training and the JOEP further cements that partnership through persistent training with the Border Guard Forces, Quick Reaction Forces and the 77th Marine Battalion.