Top Australian Defence Force (ADF) combat shooters tested themselves in a range of challenging shoots at the Australian Army Skill at Arms Meet (AASAM) at Greenbank Training Area, Queensland, from March 13-19. 

The ADF’s premier marksmanship event featured real-world scenarios that challenged teams and individuals during day and night, along with assault courses and robotic target matches.

This year’s champion shot of the ADF and Army was Lance Corporal Nicholas Latham, from Townsville’s 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. 

1st Battalion also won the champion unit, with 3rd Brigade the top performing brigade. 

Champion shot for the Royal Australian Navy was Sub Lieutenant Jerome Dillon-Baker, from 723 Squadron, at HMAS Albatross

Royal Australian Air Force’s champion shot was Flight Lieutenant Rowan McBride, from the Officer Training School, East Sale.

Army’s Combined Arms Training Centre runs the event each year. Centre commandant Colonel David McCammon said competition events evolved over time. 

“We’ve seen our shoots go from more traditional range shoots to a more progressive combat shooting focus,” he said. 

“AASAM provides a great opportunity for units to come to an activity that is already laid out for them.

“Competitors have the opportunity to shoot four or five ranges in a day and get that exposure to those ranges that they normally wouldn’t get.”

Colonel McCammon said teams arrived at AASAM better prepared than previous years. 

“Everyone is encouraged to give AASAM a go, combat support and reservists included. This year we had excellent representation from [Army’s] 2nd Division,”  he said.

The competition is also open to Navy and Air Force – who gave Army a run for their money, according to Colonel McCammon.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for individual shooters across the ADF to get a team together, come and see the latest techniques in combat shooting and apply the latest range shoots we do,” he said.  

The secret to success was “experience and time on the tools,” according to champion shot Lance Corporal Latham. 

“I’m fortunate enough to have competed in these competitions for many years. I’ve have learned how the practices are held, how to train for the shoots and how to manage me and my team best for the competition,” he said.

Following the competition, the Australian Army Combat Shooting Team is selected to compete in future international marksmanship competitions. 

To watch a video from the meet, go to: youtu.be/YmY7jPl1D34