Soldiers fired up at shooting competition
Stars and Stripes June 17, 2003
DARMSTADT, Germany — The Monte Kali international shooting competition wrapped up Saturday after two tough days on the range for competitors who learned about different weapons and waited out thunderstorms.
The 39th Finance Battalion based in Hanau along with German army reservists from the Reservisten Kameradschaft sponsored the shooting event at the U.S. rifle range in Messel, a suburb of Darmstadt.
Nearly 2,000 international soldiers participated in the shooting event. In addition to the American and German troops, soldiers from eight other nations took to the range — troops from Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.
This was the 20th year of competition, with the U.S. sister unit participating for the second consecutive year.
The Monte Kali is an opportunity for international troops to fire American weapons, while building camaraderie, according to Maj. Dan Heinzelman, 39th Finance Battalion executive officer.
In addition to competition with the M-16 rifle, the foreign troops also could earn qualification badges firing the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, a light machine gun; and the M-9, a 9 mm Beretta. Dutch Glock handguns also were available for firing.
Individuals and four-man teams competed against one another.
“This is a fun event where we learn different types of weapons, while learning about different armies,” said Sgt. 1st Class René Verbeek of the Netherlands. “We try to teach some of the Americans a few German and Dutch words.”
The event wrapped up Saturday evening with an awards banquet at the Messel town hall. Refurbished artillery shells were given to top shooters.
“Our militaries are definitely different. It’s good to talk and participate in events like this with other soldiers. It definitely helps build camaraderie between our military and their military. In the future, if we actually have to fight together, we’ll remember the time spent together at the range,” said Spc. Kenneth Sallee, a 39th Finance combat lifesaver.
Throughout the year, the American and German units stay in contact through various social events like bowling or shooting for the German marksmanship award, the Shuetestschnur.