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March and shoot MND-N

By Cpl. Jean-Philippe Lavigne
First published in
SFOR Informer#121, September 5, 2001

Aug. 27, 01, Multinational Division North (MND-N) hosted a March and Shoot competition at 2nd Corps VF-B (Bosniac component of the Federation Army) area in Tuzla. The competition was open to all MND-N battle groups and Armed Forces units in BiH stationed in MND-N, at corps and division levels. In the end, the three VF-B participant units achieved a landslide victory over the opponents' teams.

Tuzla - Each unit was invited to send one team to the competition. Teams consisted of 11 men with one of them acting as a team leader. They were made up regardless of rank, and members did not have to be in an existing squad. Unfortunately, the VRS (Army of Republika Srpska) and the Turkish Battalion didn't participate in the competition.

March…
The operation was conducted in two phases. First phase was a 12-kilometre march, during which the teams encountered two different tasks: an equipment carry and a casualty carry. The team had to carry five weighted ammunition boxes (approximately 40kg) and 1,250 litre barrel for 200 metres. Then they had to carry five stretchers, weighted with sandbags (approximately 85kg), over the same distance. The teams were graded on how fast they completed these two events. A five-minute penalty was added to the team's score for dropping the "casualty." 1st Corps VF-B accomplished the best time for both events: 1.06 min. for the equipment carry and 1.36 min. for the casualty carry.

At the end of the march, time stopped and was recorded. Teams had 10 minutes to rest and move to the ammunition issue point. 2nd Corps VF-B arrived first in less than one hour (59min 13secs)! All other participants took more than an hour to run these 12 kilometres. VF-B fitness levels greatly impressed everyone. "The road was steep and dirty, the most difficult was to keep everyone together," commented 2nd Corps team leader.

…and shoot
During Phase II, a marksmanship phase followed where team members, with five rounds each, had to engage 10, 30cm steel drop plate targets, at 100m, from a prone firing position using basic issue infantry rifles. Prior to shooting, each team was required to disassemble, re-assemble, and perform a functions check on their weapons. This event was neither graded nor timed and was done for safety reasons only. Then leaders ordered their team to run to the firing line, assume a prone firing position, insert magazines and begin to engage the targets.

The firers were graded on how fast they knocked down all 10 targets. Once again, 2nd corps VF-B appeared to be the best shooters. It seemed that VF-B would not lie down and let the SFOR teams take their place. After the shooting, teams moved to the soccer field and waited for the competition to finish.
Once the competition was completed and the final score tabulated, all teams formed up on the soccer field for the awards presentation.

Teams were graded on how they did on all the events, the lowest score being the best. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place honors were respectively awarded for the overall event to 2nd, 1st and 3rd Corps VF-B. Maj. Gen. Walter L. Sharp, MND-N commander, decorated the winners in the presence of Federation Defence Minister Mijo Anic. This event was hosted to promote the spirit of competition, good sportsmanship, military skills and professionalism.
Undoubtedly, the Federation Army (VF) demonstrated its high capabilities and readiness in international co-operation, an essential aspect of peacekeeping missions. We can guess that BiH as well as other countries will see the benefits of VF skills.

Related link: Training and Exercises