ILOPANGO, El Salvador – Special operations teams from across the Americas participated today in the Pistol and Rifle Qualification event of Fuerzas Comando 2011 at the Centro Especial Anti-Terrorista compound here, demonstrating their precision marksmanship skills.
Fuerzas Comando was established in 2004 as a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored special operations skills competition and senior-leader seminar featuring nations from Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The event kicked off day two of competition as the 19 teams faced a 100-meter range consisting of four rifle rounds and four pistol rounds. Each round tested the shooter’s proficiency in a different position for a maximum possible score of 400 points on each weapon.
After seeing a full day’s shooting that saw dramatic shifts in weather, the judge said the teams did not disappoint.
“I think [everybody] did their country proud,” he said. “Looking at the shooting, myself being a shooter, I’d say they’ve done well. And looking at the conditions – it’s overcast and it was raining for some teams – they went out and put their best foot forward.”
Adapting to the climate was a main feature of the Colombian team’s training, said one team member.
“The training we did back in our own country was very similar to this, and we tried to get it as close as possible to what face here. With pistol and rifle qualifications we had ranges setup almost exactly like this one in different climates and altitudes to try to prepare as much as we could for the event,” he said.
Each event is as much about training as it is about winning, said the judge, who competed seven times before returning this year for his first turn as an evaluator. Though every team wants to succeed, in the end it is the spirit of cooperation that prevails.
“It’s a kind of unity together. We get to know people, people get to know us. And if duty calls that we’re to work together, we know how to work together with each other,” he said.