AMMAN, Jordan – The art of sniping is more than just proper cover, concealment and sight alignment; it demands situational awareness, flawless timing and solid arithmetic.
The Military Engagement Team-Jordan (MET-J), with 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB), Arizona Army National Guard (AZANG), in collaboration with Jordan Operational Engagement Program (JOEP) Soldiers, with 1st Squadron, 102nd Cavalry Regiment, 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 42nd Infantry Division, New Jersey National Guard, conducted a five-day Sniper Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) with Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) snipers at a base outside Amman in October.
"As a group, we [MET-J, JOEP] were able to collaborate and come up with a good exchange," said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Johnny Vidrio, with MET-J, 158th MEB, AZANG, "The sniper field is a perishable skill, so you have to use it a lot to retain it. We are working with the JAF to keep our exchanges going."
Snipers are known for their specialization in shooting targets from long-range distances with a modified weapon, as well as their reconnaissance abilities. Vidrio, who served as the Sniper SMEE team lead, has more than 20 years' experience with various weapons systems through his civilian and military occupations. He said the MET-J shared information on how the U.S. Army executes sniper tasks, and in turn, the Jordanians shared their methods. The exchange reviewed basic sniper skills and incorporated different approaches to teach the material to other Soldiers.
"The more you teach with a group, the more comfortable you will feel teaching by yourself," explained Vidrio, "That's what we were doing, helping them feel comfortable about teaching."
MET-J facilitates and conducts military-to-military engagements with regional partners in the U.S. Army Central area of responsibility to improve military partner capability and capacity, enhance interoperability and build relationships.
Some areas covered during the Sniper SMEE included setting up a comfortable firing position, weapons maintenance, correcting malfunctions and zeroing and determining wind values. The snipers discussed how half value, full value, tailwinds and headwinds affect the drift of a bullet. They examined techniques to find the directional movement of wind, such as observing the path of dust, smoke, trash or mirage waves, near an intended target. Target range estimation was calculated with a mathematical equation, but each nation used a different formula.
"They [JAF] have a different calculation for range estimation. This was new to American snipers," said Vidrio. "We learned a whole new way of estimating distance and ranges."
SMEEs foster open information flow and enable coalition Soldiers to work together and learn from one another. The United States is committed to the security of Jordan and to partnering closely with the JAF to meet shared security challenges.
JAF Sgt. 1st Class Ghareeb Alaomary, sniper instructor and logistics coordinator, liked learning how the U.S. Soldiers calculated target distance and range.
"The mathematic equation formulas given were new information for us," Alaomary said. "It added to their [JAF snipers'] knowledge to help make more accurate calculations."
Alaomary said the knowledge gained during the Sniper SMEE will be shared with individual units to cross-train with their fellow soldiers.
"I would like to give a special thanks for the effort you [U.S. Army] have dedicated to the students and the valuable information you have provided," said Alaomary.
The U.S. military has a long-standing relationship with Jordan to support mutual objectives by providing military assistance to the JAF consistent with U.S. interests.