A GATHERING OF WARRIORS
Recoil|March - April 2020
SPECIAL OPERATIONS TEAMS COMPETE FOR THE GLORY IN YAJOUZ, JORDAN
WES DOSS

Every year, in the heart of the rocky desert of the northern Arabian Peninsula, warriors of many cultures gather to put their skills to the test in competitive feats of expertise, to leave the arena the victor and leave their opponents in the dust. This annual assembly of the world’s warriors is more than a gathering — much more akin to a congregation of souls sharing a deep calling not well understood by those who haven’t spent their lives in pursuit of the warrior’s path.

Each of the last 11 years, in the rugged historic land of Jordan, precariously nestled between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, a one-of-a-kind event has been​ held where warriors from many, often adversarial, lands gather, leaving their differences at home and putting their skills to the test against each other. Held at the impressive and sophisticated state-of-the-art King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center, or KASOTC, just outside of Amman. At the Warrior Competition, military and law enforcement special operations teams from across the globe face off on a level playing field in a grueling marathon of trials, testing their leadership, endurance, physical strength, marksmanship, and specialized skills.

The extraordinary 600-plus-acre KASOTC facility, located outside Amman in Yajouz, Jordan, houses every conceivable training tool, range, and prop available to special operations organizations. Live-fire cities, interactive long-distance ranges, driving pads, airfields, drop zones, multilevel live-fire CQB shoot houses, and breaching ranges are managed and maintained by a full-time professional staff. KASOTC leaves little to wish for and was created as a dedicated training center by King Abdullah, himself a legendary special operations warrior.

Many organizations come to train at or find themselves assigned to KASOTC. I first learned of KASOTC during deployments to the Middle East and then again as a waypoint during contractor assignments in and out of Iraq. It’s been amazing to watch KASOTC grow and evolve over the years. Whenever a need is identified, KASOTC creates a training solution. King Abdullah, by all accounts a true warrior-leader, has long recognized the value of both military and law enforcement special operations units, but saw a lack of facilities that were capable of being one-stop shops for their needs. Thus, KASOTC was created to be one of the most comprehensive environments offering the best in training and resources to these forces.

The Warrior Competition, a simple title for a far-from-simple event, is truly an inclusive international competition. It draws elite military and law enforcement teams from across the world. This year, the event was held at KASOTC from April 14 to 20, with 37 competing teams from 26 countries, as well as an additional 14 delegations from 14 countries observing the event. The sole team from the U.S. at the 2019 Warrior Competition was the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Police Department Special Operations Team (SOT).

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