WIESBADEN, Germany - A U.S. camp was invaded by a union of Soldiers representing several European nations amid the sounds of large and small arms fire.
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McCully Firing Range in Wackernheim was the site of the 27th annual Monte Kali Pokal Team and Individual Shooting Competition June 10-12.
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"This is a healthy competition. ... We're continuously showing our solidarity by working with our NATO partners," said Archie White, chief of Regional Training Support Baumholder, who said that the U.S. Army has hosted the competition numerous times in the past at the Darmstadt training area.
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About 1,100 Soldiers, foreign armed forces, foreign reserves, customs federal and state police and civilian shooting associations representing 12 nations - Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, United States, Hungary, Britain and Switzerland - had a chance to shoot such weapons as the German MP5, U.S. M16A2 and the Dutch Glock 17. The German Reservistenkameradshaft (Reserve Association of the Bundeswehr) from Giessel facilitated the competition working in coordination with 1st Armored Division Soldiers who were the range safety officers, line instructors, security and weapons cleaning detailers.
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"This was a very good shooting place for us. The people here support us. It's good working here," said Bernd Kern, lead administrator, who spoke of the good relationship his organization has shared with the U.S. Army through the years.
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Twelve nations divided into 230 teams participated in the competition where one of the biggest attractions was the hardware.
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"When they shoot, they want their badges," said Benetia Johnson, 1st Armored Division rear detachment operations officer in charge, who monitored the flow of activity throughout the competition. "They are very competitive on the range, but easy-spirited people."
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The unfamiliar weapons offer the foreigner a degree of difficulty, but the multinational participants did not shy away from the opportunity to shoot the standard weaponry of their NATO brethren.
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"It's always the fault of the rifle why you didn't qualify," said Rafael Plombier, Bundeswehr reservist who said he was there to fire the American M16. "For me the P5 was easy, the M16 and Glock were difficult. If you do this you will see that it's not so easy to get."
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While acquiring marksmanship decorations of foreign militaries is one reason to take part, target practice was not the only benefit of such an event.
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"The enemies of yesterday are sitting together as friends. No quarrels ... a very friendly evening," said Kern, as he gave a preview of the evening social planned for Friday after all business was taken care of at the range.
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Soldiers made connections in the common areas as they transitioned to the various firing stations and awaited the next opportunity to shoot.
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"They love the Americans here. They want the flags and patches [from our uniforms]. They were very friendly," said Johnson who shared remarks about several acquaintances she had made by the second day of the affair.
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"This was a nice experience. I've met lots of people from many European countries," said Plombier.
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"It was a great experience. Soldiers meet foreign service members they probably wouldn't have interacted with on another basis," said Jefferd Singletary, 1st AD operations noncommissioned officer in charge.
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Fourteen U.S. Army Soldiers earned German marksmanship badges, SchAfA1/4tzenschnur, June 10. The Soldiers fired the MP5 and Glock 17 to earn the bronze award.
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Having earned the honor proves a Soldier has the ability to carry and fire the weapon and is authorized to wear the badge on the Army dress uniform.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16