A shooting challenge

Capt. Jose Antonio Latorre Remon
First published in
SFOR Informer#164, August 1, 2003

The French/Spanish Battle Group organised a Shooting Patrols Challenge on the 27th of June at the firing range of Macipolje in the village of Nevesinje. In the middle of a great storm, the 6 patrols ran and shot with enthusiasm while representing their Companies.

Nevesinje - There were 6 patrols: one from the Spanish Parachute Company (Para Coy), one from the Spanish Marine Coy, one from the French Para Coy, one from the French Recce Para Sqn and one from each of the CSS (Combat Support Supply) Companies, (Spanish and French). Each patrol was comprised of one officer, two NCOs and seven soldiers.
The event started with a 7 km race. Afterwards the patrols had 5 minutes to check their equipment and to prepare for the shooting. Once this time was up, they had to run 190 m to reach the firing post.
An interesting military competition
Sergeant Del Campo, of the CSS SP Company, is used to running this type of challenge in his Para Unit, and he explained, "There are several differences with the Spanish competition. Instead of shooting from a standard position, four patrollers, including the patrol leader has to remain standing and use a sand bag parapet. Also they only have 90 seconds to run to the firing point and to shoot".
"It was the first time that we participate in this kind of challenge. We areb more accustomed to run much further and then to have to undertake precision target shooting, but this is not important we all put in maximum effort. We would have won if we had not incurred a penalty. We have returned with a joyful feeling, having put in our maximum effort. We will participate in the next challenge, to improve on this third place", explained Sgt. Leveque part of the FR Para Coy team.
To ensure impartiality there were both Spanish and French referees, and to maintain the bi-national feel the logistics was a combined affair as well. Working and training together is not difficult for the Spanish and French soldiers, as regular exercises are held between the two countries, particularly the Paratroopers.
All soldiers are winners
" We must recognize that the real winners of this challenge are the FRSPBG members, involved in the six patrols. Cohesion in the BG is a daily reality and we are proud of it. This challenge contributes to enhance this cohesion,” remarked Lt. Ibañez, leader of the winning Spanish Para Company. The success of this shooting patrol was due to the enthusiasm and effort of all the troops belonging to the FRSPBG who participated. The challenge demonstrated the excellent co-operation between the French and Spanish soldiers working together to bring peace and stability to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: France, Spain

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Photos: Capt. Jose Antonio Latorre Remon

The French CSS Company taking aim on the firing line.

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The Spanish Marine Company, complete after a difficult challenge.