Aussie gunners win on the world stage

A team of 31 gunners from the 4th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, won in a number of categories at the US Army’s Best by Test artillery competition in Oahu, Hawaii.

CAPTIONAustralian Army gunners from the 4th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, competing in the US Army’s Best by Test artillery competition in Oahu, Hawaii. Story by Major Taylor Lynch. Photos supplied by the US Army.

The competition was held over a nine-day period with the US 2nd Division and 25th Infantry Division, incorporating military skills, physical activities and challenging technical artillery assessments.

109 Battery won Best Fire Support Team, with Captain Pat Glasby winning an individual award for Best Forward Observer.

Captain Taras Jakubovsky said the contingent had to overcome challenges presented by tough terrain to come out with a win.

“The terrain would be pretty beautiful if you were there on holiday, but the hills were very steep and there was a lot of jungle to get through while it rained heavily, but it was an amazing place to be,” Captain Jakubovsky said.

“We averaged four hours of sleep per night, then covered 10 to 15 kilometres with a 50-kilo pack every day; then every time we moved to a new stand there were tough physical tests.

“We had a tight bond, and not everyone feels good all the time, so everyone looked after their mates who might be toughing it out, and the next day they would help others who were struggling along.

“We’re awfully proud of the team that won. Everybody gave it their all to push through physical and mental barriers to get there.”

Captain Jakubovsky said it was a privilege putting the regiment’s training to use alongside their US allies.

“It was a good validation of our training in Townsville, and it affirms that we’re doing the right thing in our preparations, and we were lucky to compare that to the best in the world,” he said.

“We have slightly different processes, so the fact that we can come together and align with the US was really awesome.

“It paints us in a positive light with our strategic allies, that we’re a partner of choice and someone they can rely on.”

Lance Bombardier Thomas Mundy said the team overcame austere conditions during the competition.

“A lot of us pushed ourselves further than anyone could have expected. It was very physically and mentally draining,” Lance Bombardier Mundy said.

“Everyone dug in deep and made their contributions. We work tightly together back home so that transitioned across well into the competition.

“We’re a bit sore, but it was a great opportunity to train in that climate, and we’ve all come out stronger from it.”

Lance Bombardier Mundy said he was proud to represent Australia on the world stage.

“Every live-fire opportunity is great for us. You experience the stress of dropping live high explosives in close proximity to your friendlies while neutralising targets,” he said.

“It’s great integrating with the Americans. They have a slightly different way of operating, which we can use to increase our efficiency back home.

“It was a privilege and a great opportunity. Everyone likes working with Australians and we like to maintain that reputation.”

CAPTIONAustralian Army gunners pose for a photo at the US Army’s Best by Test artillery competition.





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