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Run and Shoot

By Airman Christophe Lehmann
First published in
SFOR Informer #71, 29 Sept, 1999.

Sarajevo - September 19, 1999, 0900hrs, 32 Italian Paratroopers of the 186th Regiment "Folgore" and four soldiers of the recovery squad of the Italian Cavalry have their backpacks weighed. They have to weigh at least 10 Kg. Today is the "big day" for them, as they are going to compete against one another, in nine four man teams, in a competition called "Run and Shoot".

They are getting ready to go to the eastern hills of Sarajevo, where it is going to take place. The aim of the competition is to have the teams cover a 7-km course on a very difficult road as quickly as possible and then shoot 10 rounds with a pistol at 15metres and 10 rounds with their rifles at a 100 immediately afterwards. In order to do this, the chosen road for the event ends at a shooting range. The teams had been organized by the soldiers on their own, and composed of soldiers as well as of NCOs and company commanders.

This competition was the idea of Col. Emanuele Spagnolo, commander of the 186th Regiment, and was organized by Lt. Col. Mauricio Morena, commander of the 5th Battalion. "We couldn't have had more teams participating because of our commitments," explained Morena. Security was a big concern for the event. Lt. Col. Morena did the reconnaissance himself. A doctor and an ambulance were on call at the site during the 5 hours it lasted. A security briefing was given to all the participants before it started. Of course, the zone still being polluted by mines, shortcuts were absolutely forbidden. Three checkpoints had been established on the road, and a patrol drove back and forth to ensure everything was fine.

The six fastest teams to get to the shooting range got respectively 600, 500, 400, 300, 200 and 100 points, each bullet in the target was worth 10 points.

The calculation was not that difficult to do, as team number six won it all, by covering the distance in 59minutes and placing 58 bullets into the target. When they were asked how they felt about winning, they all answered at the same time: "satisfaction!!!".

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