WIESBADEN, Germany - Ask Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Farley how to say "lock and load" in English, German, Spanish and Italian, and he can tell you.

As the safety officer at the M-16 range at the Monte Kali International Shooting Competition, Farley had to know a list of range commands in a variety of languages to make sure all the Soldiers understood what he was saying.

"It's awesome," Farley said of the experience. "The Soldiers are professional, and it's easy because the Soldiers listen. Everyone has camaraderie. There are a lot of exchanges going on - patches and items like that."

More than 2,000 Soldiers from 13 countries, as well as civilian members of local German shooting clubs, participated in the 30th annual shooting event May 16-18 at the Wackernheim Regional Range Complex. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment of Wiesbaden hosted the event alongside RK Giesel Bundeswehr reservists.

"It's very interesting and a lot of fun," said German Pfc. Markos Fiedler, who has attended the event every year since 2007. "The different nations come together to shoot, and they learn a lot.

"We are camping for a week here," Fielder said. "The weather is not so good, but it's OK. We are Soldiers. We like it."

German Pvt. Steffen Volpert said he also enjoyed the event. "It's a great event for all the Soldiers and shooters. It brings all the shooters together and it's fun," he said.

Sgt. Maj. Rene Verbeek of the Netherlands said this was his 22nd Monte Kali, and he oversaw a range where people could receive their Glock pistol first class qualification. "It's a lot of fun for the shooters," he said. "That's what makes it attractive to the shooters."

Verbeek's range, along with the hand grenade range, included music and a more festive atmosphere than some of the other ranges. To the tune of Uriah Heep's "Easy Livin'," Staff Sgt. Rob Marchetti and Pfc. Louis Rios were all smiles as they threw (non-live) grenades on the range.

"It's fun," Rios said. "It's a great atmosphere."

Marchetti said he enjoyed meeting Soldiers from all over Europe. "We talk about training other armies do," he said. "We've been comparing notes."

Although most Soldiers were there to shoot, some were content to clean weapons.

Spc. Nate Simmons, an information technology specialist, said he was happy to sit inside (out of the frequent rain) and clean M-16 rifles and M-9 pistols so other people could enjoy shooting. "Selfless service - that's what they teach me in the Army," he said.

Page last updated Thu June 6th, 2013 at 04:16