News: Countries improve marksmanship, strengthen relations during shooting match
Story by Lance Cpl. Mike Granahan
PUCKAPUNYAL, Australia - Breathe … relax … aim … stop … squeeze … follow through. This technique, also known as “BRASS-F,” is a technique taught during entry-level marksmanship training in the Marine Corps.
In its fifth meeting at Puckapunyal, AASAM is a multinational event allowing U.S. service members to exchange skills, tactics, techniques and procedures with members of the Australian Army, as well as other international militaries in friendly competition.
Taking place at the Combined Arms Training Center, the competition includes various rifle and pistol events. At inception, AASAM began as a sniper competition and transitioned to close-quarters combat marksmanship where competitors were able to display the fundamentals of marksmanship.
AASAM allows for an opportunity to strengthen the working relationship between U.S. forces and the Australian Defence Force.
“The Marine Corps has participated a few times before, and it’s been great having them here,” said Australian Navy Cmdr. Wayne Richards, director of competition for AASAM.
“In the midst of the competition, Australian Defence Force Chief of Army Lt. Gen. David E. Morrison visited the range to meet with service members from the countries participating. Additionally, Morrison discussed AASAM progress with combat shooting team captains and greeted key leaders from Japan and Singapore.
“AASAM is very important to me as the chief, but what is also very important is the number of international teams, from the U.S. Marine Corps to Japan, and a number of regional countries,” said Morrison.
For this year’s AASAM iteration, the number of teams has grown with the addition of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force shooting team.
“We are very accustomed to having bilateral exercises with the United States,” said Maj. Gen. Okabe Toshiya, head of training for the JGSDF. “For AASAM, this not only includes Australia but 15 other countries.”
Overall, AASAM has been a platform for various military services to showcase marksmanship with their colleagues from other nations. The U.S. Marine Corps’ combat shooting team has served as an important link in the chain of interoperability by fellow-shipping with the host nation, as well as other countries where the U.S. military conducts exercises and operations.
“This has been an amazing opportunity for us to demonstrate Marine Corps combat marksmanship on an international level,” said Chief Warrant Officer Martin W. Dankanich, officer-in-charge and team captain of the III MEF combat shooting team. “It is an honor for us to represent the Corps at this level.”