Story and photos by Chrystal Smith
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Public Affairs Office
For 28 years military and private security personnel have made their way from places such as Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and other locations to be a part of a renowned marksmanship competition.
And while most attend to compete and catch up with old friends, it’s largely about the guns when it comes to the annual Monte Kali International Shooting Competition.
“You can shoot really different weapons here,” said Swiss Army Pvt. Christoph Hauser, who gave participants an orientation on the Swiss Army SIG 550 assault rifle being fired for the first time during the competition May 6-7 at the Wackernheim Regional Range Complex.
“You have all ranks. Many different nations … civilians, active duty, Americans … many nations … so many people,” said Dutch Cpl. 1st Class Xavier Christen, whose unit facilitated the firing of the Dutch Glock 17. “Many nations, many people come again and again.”
This year’s contest was administered by the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division and Bundeswehr reserve unit Reservistenkameradschaft Giesel.
Though the American Soldiers were serving in the role of safety range officers and not competing, they also were excited about the opportunity to mix it up with different nations.
“It’s fun being here. Seeing all the weapons and seeing how the other armies do things,” said Sgt. Asha Narayan, Company B, 1st AD. “When else would we get to see something like this? Seeing how they interact with one another is good, too.”
This year an American team made up of Soldiers from the Wiesbaden Health Clinic got in on the action to sharpen their international relations skills.
“Our commander likes for us to do group activities outside of the clinic. So we do things like this … it’s fun,” said Sgt. Noe Sanchez, who said he and his teammates were trying to get experience shooting as many different weapons as they could.
Reservistenkameradschaft Giesel 1st Sgt. Steffan Druleib who has been attending the competition since 1992 said he tries to take in as much as he can from the annual event, particularly the gatherings that give him the opportunity to make new friends and catch up with old ones.
“The cooperation with the armies is fun … especially the Schuetzenschnur qualification for the U.S. Army Soldiers,” he said, adding that he is proud to see American Soldiers wear the accoutrements on their uniforms. “I love it.”
Additionally, 30 U.S. Soldiers earned the German Schuetzenschnur award in a coinciding event a day before the competition got underway. Afterward, the U.S. Soldiers favored the German MP5.
“I had the most fun with the MP5 in the standing position,” said Sgt. Matthew Jackson, 146th Signal Company, 1st AD. “It’s the fastest I have ever engaged targets.”
“It’s just a lighter weapon than ours. I wish we had them sometimes,” said Narayan. “It’s definitely more functional by far.”
This year’s competition hosted 249, four-person teams from 13 nations that were made up of active army units, reservists, federal and state police officers and various civilian guests. The teams proved their disciplines with the Dutch Glock 17, the American M4 and M9, the German MP5 and the Swiss SIG 550.
German Bundeswehr reserve team RGS Ratingen took the overall first place, with the Swiss Army and German Airborne finishing second and third respectively.
Visit www.rk-giesel.de for more information about the annual competition.