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Soldiers on target in shooting competition

10 March 2017

Trigger fingers have been tested during a shooting competition for airborne soldiers in Colchester.

The 16 Air Assault Brigade operational shooting competition has been held this week (7-9 Mar) on Fingringhoe and Middlewick Ranges to test soldiers’ shooting at different distances, firing positions and targets. Across three days and nine different categories, the event tested the skills of soldiers using the SA80 A2 assault rifle and Glock 17 pistol.

2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles emerged as the best unit and 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment won a falling plate contest. The knockout event challenges two teams to sprint to a set point and shoot down standing targets, with the fastest team winning.

Soldier engaging in shooting competition using the SA80 A2.

Teams from the Royal Jordanian Army and Royal Bahraini Army were also competed, as part of building links with key defence partners in the Middle East. Colonel Khaleel, of the Jordanian Quick Reaction Force, presented the trophies.

Brigade training officer Captain Gary Smith said: “Marksmanship is one of the fundamental skills of soldiering and this competition has been about driving up shooting standards, combined with the operationally relevant skills of fitness and communication. The performance has been exceptionally high across the board, with the good natured and professional competition that we expect.”

Corporal Bipin Nembang, of the winning 2 RGR team, was named best shot. The 30-year-old said: “I’m really proud of my contribution towards the team’s success. To me, marksmanship is a soldier’s most important skill and it is something I work really hard on. All of that practice has paid off in this competition.”

Cpl Bipin Nembang, 2 RGR awarded best shot, presented by Col Khaleel of the Jordanian Army.

Second Lieutenant Holly Kirkham, of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, was named best officer as her team finished second overall. The 22-year-old from Salisbury said: “It’s been a real team effort to prepare and compete. The Gurkhas have an excellent record in shooting competitions so we always expected to be battling for second place. I’m really happy with my own shooting and how the team performed to finish ahead of both the Parachute Regiment battalions.”

The two top teams will go on to represent the Brigade at the tri-service Defence Operational Shooting Competition in June.

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