Marksmanship and mateship on display

The 1st Brigade witnessed an extraordinary display of camaraderie and skill as Australian and Timorese soldiers faced off in a challenging shooting competition in Darwin in early November.

CAPTIONSoldiers from the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, and the Timor Leste Defence Force listen to a safety brief ahead of conducting an urban operations scenario at the indoor training facility at Robertson Barracks, NT. Story by Captain Annie Richardson. Photo by Sub-Lieutenant Chloe Reay.

After a week of marksmanship training, skill building and cultural activities, eight soldiers from the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR), and a contingent of 10 Timor Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL) faced off in an urban, marksmanship and combat shooting competition.

The joint training sessions covered a spectrum of military skills, from marksmanship to building clearing, and even a tae kwon do lesson ahead of the competition day.

To adequately put the team’s skills to the test and ensure they were pre-fatigued, the contingent started with an early morning urban operations scenario, before heading straight into a 4km weighted run under the unforgiving Northern Territory sun.

CAPTIONSoldiers from the Timor Leste Defence Force practise their accuracy on moving targets at the 100m, 200m and 300m marks at the Marksmanship Training Range in Darwin, NT. Photo by Captain Annie Richardson.

Wielding their weapons – the Australian EF88 and the Timorese-issued M4 – the now sufficiently sweaty and tired teams transitioned swiftly to testing their accuracy on moving targets at the 100m, 200m and 300m marks.

Officer Commanding Support Company 5RAR Major Samuel Hand said the teams ensured the competition was fair.

“We’ve all really enjoyed learning off each other and working together, and in particular we’ve enjoyed learning each other’s weapons systems,” Major Hand said.

“Naturally, the EF88 Austeyer and the M4 Carbine come with their differences, and while we’ve all taken a turn on both, for the actual marksmanship competition, we did shoot our own weapon systems at the 100m, 200m and 300m marks.”

As the competition went on through the morning, the results of the shooters were kept a secret, with the grand reveal occurring at an awards presentation the following night.

Taking out most proficient marksman was Private Daniel Norton, of Mortar Platoon 5RAR, and best overall participant was Cabo Marito Soares Pinto, of Fuzileiros F-FDTL.

Other awards included best team – Mortar Platoon, 5RAR; most improved soldier – Soldado Juvinal de Soares Pinto of Policia Militar F-FDTL; and best Timorese shot – Soldado Albanio Vicente Martins of Forças Especialis F-FDTL.

Officer in Command of the F-FDTL shooting contingent Lieutenant Chyco Boavida said the competition – and winning – aside, it was the opportunities that his team enjoyed most.

“We wanted to learn something new and develop our marksmanship,” Lieutenant Boavida said.

“We’re happy to have this friendly competition, and we enjoy the relationship we have with our Australian partners.”

Reflecting on the challenging competition, Major Hand praised the F-FDTL for their commitment to excellence.

“It’s been a challenging week and a pretty humid environment for all our activities, but the Timorese pushed our guys right up until the end and ensured that the competitive spirit didn’t waver,” he said.

“The Timorese certainly kept our team on their toes, and we’re really looking forward to doing this again next year.”

CAPTIONSoldiers from the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, conduct a weighted run at the Marksmanship Training Range in Darwin, NT. Photo by Captain Annie Richardson.


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