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March and Shoot with the Federation Army

By 2nd Lt. Alexandre Barb
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001

May 24 was the first time that the Federation Army (VF) organised a March and Shoot competition. Thirteen teams of 23 soldiers each, all belonging to the 2nd Corps of the VF, participated in the contest won by a team from the 17th Military Police Battalion.

Tuzla Under the watchful eyes of Brig. Gen. Refik Lendo, commanding the 2nd Corps of the VF, and Maj. Gen. Walter Sharp, commanding Multi-National Division - North (MND-N), a 23-soldier team ran onto the firing range. Backpack, flack-jacket and helmet worn, they threw themselves to the ground and, as quick as they could, fired at the 20 targets standing about 100 metres away. As they hit all of them, a joyful shout meant that they had completed their mission. But the competition was not finished yet. Other teams followed and waited for the results, the tension grew.
Two teams attained the same score of 100 points. One then had to decide who the winner was. The team of the 17th Military Police Battalion was finally declared to be the winner. They completed the 12-kilometre walk in the best time: one hour, 19 minutes and 36 seconds.
Im very happy to have participated in this competition with my soldiers to show our combat skills. They are really excellent. I remember that in March, we were second in the same kind of competition in Manjaca, (SFOR Informer no. 109), he said. We had no specific preparation for today because we were only advised two weeks before the competition, he mentioned.
Lendo highlighted this performance in his speech. I wanted to be sure that we hadnt bitten SFOR by accident in Manjaca. I am very satisfied with those results, because they show that every soldier is ready to carry out (his) mission, he declared. Ive set higher standards for this competition, but Ill be satisfied only when every soldier of the 2nd Corps will reach such standards, he added.
15 kilos on their backs
The competition began at 7:30 in the morning. The teams followed a route up and down through several villages around Tuzla. The last team shot early in the afternoon. Under a bright sun, the soldiers streamed with sweat, carrying a 15-kilo backpack. If they reach the fire range with a lighter backpack, the team is penalised and time is added, explained American Capt. Michael Justice, liaison officer of MND-N with VF 2nd Corps.
Sharp also declared himself very impressed with the skills of the soldiers. These competitions make soldiers and units better. It demonstrates that they are very well trained and Im looking forward to seeing more competition like this in the future.
SFOR soldiers now have to train hard.

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