Military Skills Competition (MILCOMP) 2023 participants had the opportunity to take up Z88 9mm pistols and R4 5.56mm assault rifles at Army Support Base Potchefstroom’s Dirkie Uys Shooting Range next to 4 Artillery Regiment on Tuesday 12 September, in preparation for the category shoots which lie ahead later in the week.
Specific groups composed of both South African and international competitors, spent time alternating between the pistol and rifle ranges, where they came to grips with many hitherto unfamiliar firearms.
Weapons were issued, and details took their places at the various 200m rifle and 25mm pistol firing points, where they were taken through the different shooting classification phases by range officers. Improving musketry and skill at arms competency is a key combat readiness-strengthening component of the Military Skills Competition 2023.
Of particular note, was the calibre of the interaction between South African Army Regular and Reserve soldiers and their counterparts from the United States of America, specifically from the New York National Guard. Since 2003, the New York National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP) has executed bilateral military and civilian engagements with the Republic of South Africa so as to increase partner capacity and capability.
This New York National Guard State Partnership Program is the first and oldest of its kind between American states and African nations. Whether in conversation between shoots, getting into lively exchanges while examining each other’s targets, or interacting with range officials, competitors jumped at the chance to engage with each other.
The collaborations between South African and American troops at the Military Skills Competition go from strength to strength year by year, and in addition to participating in the post-COVID-19 edition of the competition in 2022, New York Army National Guard troops participated in the July 2022 Exercise SHARED ACCORD in KwaZulu-Natal’s coastal town of Richards Bay.
The teams from South Africa, Botswana, Germany, Tanzania and United States of America that had divided up into groups for practice on the pistol and rifle ranges united at the end of the day to turn in their allocated weapons, and to pose for a group photograph together with Military Skills Competition staff.
Competitors of all participating countries are taking the opportunity to gain as much experience during the Military Skills Competition’s category familiarisation phase before the scheduled water obstacle course head-to-head on Wednesday 13 September.