SHOOTING DOWN UNDER. Members of the Army's Shooting Team pose for a souvenir photo during the 2012 Australian Army Skill At Arms Meeting held in Puckapunyal Military Area, Victoria last week. (MTU Photo)
FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – The Army Shooting Team won international recognition in the recently concluded Australian Army Skills-at-Arms Meeting (AASAM) held at Puckapunyal Military Area in Victoria, Australia from May 01-21, 2012.
Lt Col Ricky Bunayog, the Commanding Officer of the Army's Marksmanship Training Unit, said that the team brought home 2 Golds, 4 Silvers and 9 Bronze medals.
Composed of veteran shooters of the Army, the Philippine team emerged number seven among the 16 participating countries in this year’s competition.
Major Harold Cabunoc, Army spokesperson said that it is another pride not only to the Army but also to the entire country.
“The team’s victory is another concrete manifestation of your Army’s high level of excellence in the field of marksmanship. Our team has consistently brought home lasting honor for the country in the past decade,” he said.
The AASAM which started in 1984 at North Queensland Australia is an annual event open to international competitors. It is designed to enhance Army operational capability by means of a rigorous, challenging and combat focused skill at arms competition.
Several teams including ASEAN members, Japan, US Army and Marines, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, French Forces New Caledonia join Australian competitors marking a participation increase this year.
The Philippine Army Shooting Team started joining the competition in 2005 which was held in New South Wales.
The Army shooters who battled in the two-week combat marksmanship shooting match includeStaff Sgt. Jesustino B Agod, Staff Sgt. Armando G Mejia, Staff Sgt. Rudy M Edas, Staff Sgt. Alan G Lao, Staff Sgt Willard B Carrera, Staff Sgt. Jovemar M Rapsing, Cpl. Rodney L Rizano, Cpl. Angelo E Bonagua, Pfc. Jumar B Cenas, Pfc. Hader D Hammara and Pfc. Rosalito A Collado.
Accompanying Bunayog who served as Contingent Commander, are Maj. Amelito G Baa, Maj. Charlie C Banaag, who both served as support staff members.
The team’s past victories in AASAM include the bagging of 2 golds, 1 silver and a bronze medal in 2005 and 2 Golds and 4 Silver medals in 2009.
Its best performance was in 2010 garnering eight Golds, 11 Silvers and one Bronze medal. In the same year they have recorded the fastest time in the obstacle course race marking the fastest ever in the entire AASAM history. Their feat was capped by bringing home the Perpetual Trophy for the Rifle Falling Plates match.
The team has added a new addition to its growing number of awards by bringing home the Meggit International Trophy for the Battle Simulation match this year.
Similarly, collecting Gold medals becomes the team’s habit in other national as well as international shooting competitions hosted by foreign countries such as China and Australia.
The team is expected to present their medals to Army Chief Lt Gen Emmanuel T Bautista who is happy about the new accomplishment of the shooting team.
Bautista himself is a shooting enthusiast. He leads the Army shooting team in the quarterly Games of the Generals that is participated by star-rank officers from the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard.
Aside from shooting competitions, the Army Shooting Team is also actively involved in implementing various marksmanship training program in the different Army units all throughout the archipelago.
An Army shooter inspects a foxhole shooting position prior to the start of the shooting match that simulates combat situation. Electronic targets are laid down the field at varied distances (100m-400m). (MTU Photo)
Shooters count their hits on the silhouette targets which were mounted on electronic target system called DART (Disappearing Automatic Retaliatory Target).
SHOOTING FRIENDS. Philippine Army shooters pose for a photo with the contingent of shooters from Japan.
2005 AASAM Photos
The Army sent its first shooting contingent to AASAM in October 2005. I participated as a shooter, firing both a scoped M16A2 Rifle and M1911A1 Pistol. Two of the original members of this contingent, SSg Rudy Edas (seated, 2nd from left), and Cpl Rodney Rizano (standing, 2nd from right), are members of the 2012 AASAM Team.
This is my photo during the International Practice match, a very challenging match simulating combat scenarios in the field. My Mindanao battle experiences made the difference here.
Carrying a combat load weighing around 7.5kgs, I engaged man-sized targets with my pistol out to 50-meters. Certainly, this shooting match is very challenging and very much applicable in our field situations. That is why, we recommended that the Army Shooting Team be allowed to compete here every two years.
BROTHERS IN ARMS. International shooting competitions are our opportunities to win friends around the globe. This is the reason why friendly shooting matches among various Armed Forces must be continued.