Asean armies aim for trophies and closer ties

SAF soldiers performing part of their close combat training as one of the performance items for yesterday's Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) closing ceremony. AARM is an annual event that aims to deepen military ties in the region through a rifle compe
SAF soldiers performing part of their close combat training as one of the performance items for yesterday's Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) closing ceremony. AARM is an annual event that aims to deepen military ties in the region through a rifle competition, as part of a diplomatic tradition that started in 1991. ST PHOTOS: JONATHAN CHOO
SAF soldiers performing part of their close combat training as one of the performance items for yesterday's Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) closing ceremony. AARM is an annual event that aims to deepen military ties in the region through a rifle compe
Army chiefs in the Asean region taking part in a friendly carbine shooting competition as part of the AARM's closing ceremony. The rifle meet started on Nov 13. ST PHOTOS: JONATHAN CHOO
SAF soldiers performing part of their close combat training as one of the performance items for yesterday's Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) closing ceremony. AARM is an annual event that aims to deepen military ties in the region through a rifle compe
Singapore's Chief of Army Melvyn Ong taking aim in a friendly pistol competition with the Malaysian Armed Forces Chief of Army, Datuk Sri Zulkiple Haji Kassim (right), as his teammate.ST PHOTOS: JONATHAN CHOO

As he set aim, Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Ross Li Jin Jie stayed focused and trusted in his training.

He made his shots count, and earned second place for the overall individual pistol men champion-ship in an annual rifle competition that began on Nov 13.

"The pressure was on, but I was focused on doing my job well," said 3WO Li, 33, who was recognised for his achievements in the closing ceremony of the Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) yesterday.

He was also part of the team that placed second for the overall team championship in the same weapon category.

In a statement, the Defence Ministry said that the Singapore Army achieved notable results in this year's AARM.

It ranked second in the machine gun overall team championship, second in both the overall pistol (men) team and individual championships, and third in both the overall pistol (women) team and individual championships.

Indonesia swept nine of 15 championship trophies and Thailand won three trophies. Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines won one trophy each. They were competing across five categories: carbine, rifle, machine gun, pistol (men) and pistol (women).

During the closing ceremony, Singapore's Chief of Army Melvyn Ong said that AARM showcases Asean marksmanship at its finest.

Master Sergeant (MSG) Ahmad Iskandar, 31, said that he had to overcome his nerves to remain focused during the competition.

"We have to get the process right, and, in our minds, we are thinking that all the rounds out of our guns are valuable because they contribute to our results," he said.

He operated the machine gun with his partner, MSG Rudy Herman, 33, at the competition.

Both men, who are participating in AARM for the first time, were placed third in the machine gun single team championship, and they were part of the overall team championship that was placed second for the same category.

Representatives from other Asean countries said that they were impressed by Singapore's warm reception, training facilities and its efforts in organising the competition.

Part of a diplomatic tradition that goes back to 1991, the rifle competition, in its 27th iteration, is also an opportunity to maintain the strength of existing defence relations in the region.

Major-General Ong said: "This unique opportunity to meet regularly is important to ensure that defence relations between Asean countries continue to remain strong."

Malaysia will host the AARM next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Asean armies aim for trophies and closer ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe