Five nation challenge
4 September 2018
Shooting on target can be difficult enough, let alone when fatigued from an arduous physical training session, but that was the challenge Australian and New Zealand troops in Task Group Taji, Iraq took on in friendly competition with three other coalition nations.
Anzac soldiers from Task Group Taji-7’s Quick Reaction Force went head to head with British, German and American troops in the stress shoot challenge at Taji Military Complex.
In teams, troops had to race through a 100 metre log carry, complete 20 burpees, undertake a 100 metre stretcher carry and sand bag shoulder press station before putting on their helmets and body armour, running to the mound and shooting 20 rounds in 40 seconds at 100 metres.
Australian soldier, Private Matt Maling, said it was a very tough activity.
“Especially when it came to the press with the sandbag because the dust blew straight into your face,” he said.
“Then with the shoot, even your heart rate is enough to throw you off target.”
And while the UK team took out top honours over the Anzacs by just one point, the main aim was integration.
Private Maling said the activity built on the strong relationships through some friendly competition.
“Considering most of us have never worked with the British or Germans before and have had limited exposure with the Americans, so it was good to get to know each other, especially over a bit of banter,” he said.
“Being a coalition led mission, interoperability with other call signs is important because it’s not always going to be Australians working with Australians on the ground.”
Integration activities have been a large focus of the Force training continuum at the Taji Military Complex, with the group working closely with their US counterparts, Bandit Troop to rehearse their response to simulated scenarios.
After three months of build-up training, the two forces took part in a live-fire exercise which involved Australian, New Zealand and US soldiers work in sections to jointly react to a simulated threat.
Platoon Commander, Australian Army officer, Lieutenant Brayden Joy said the activity went really well and was a good way to confirm the training from the recent months.
"It's been extremely beneficial to compare our drills and procedures over the last few months, and this exercise allowed soldiers and non-commissioned officers to put that to the test in a more complicated live-fire scenario,” Lieutenant Joy said.
“The soldiers of both nations really benefited from having the help of our multimedia cell to provide drone and Go-Pro footage that helped us conduct a fantastic multimedia after action review that allowed participants to see for themselves where they can improve and what they did well."