Asean armies shoot for trophies - and closer defence ties - at annual rifle competition

Singapore Chief of Army, Major-General Melvyn Ong hands over the Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) flag to Chief of Army of the Malaysian Armed Forces, General Dato' Sri Zulkiple Bin Haji Kassim at Nee Soon 500m Range on Nov 22, 2017.
Singapore Chief of Army, Major-General Melvyn Ong hands over the Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) flag to Chief of Army of the Malaysian Armed Forces, General Dato' Sri Zulkiple Bin Haji Kassim at Nee Soon 500m Range on Nov 22, 2017.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Chief of Army, Major-General Melvyn Ong getting ready for the Pistol Novelty Shoot at Nee Soon 500m Range on Nov 22, 2017.
Chief of Army, Major-General Melvyn Ong getting ready for the Pistol Novelty Shoot at Nee Soon 500m Range on Nov 22, 2017.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
The Defence Ministry said that the Singapore Army achieved notable results in this year's Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM).
The Defence Ministry said that the Singapore Army achieved notable results in this year's Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM).ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
The Singapore Army 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.
The Singapore Army 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.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - As he set aim in the men's pistol championship, Third Warrant Officer Ross Li Jin Jie stayed focused and trusted in his training and abilities.

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

3WO Liwas also part of the team that placed second for the overall team championship in the same weapon category.

"The pressure was on, but I was focused on doing my job well," said 3WO Li, who was recognised for his achievements in the closing ceremony of the Asean Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) held on Wednesday (Nov 22).

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 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).

Captain Hendis Asies, 30, from the Indonesian team, said: "I feel very proud of the trophies we won."

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

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

He said: "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 operated the machine gun with his partner, Master Sergeant Rudy Herman, 33, during the competition.

MSG Rudy said: "We had to be on the ball for every sequence and every round."

Both men 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.

Both men, who are participating in AARM for the first time, said that they hope to take part again next year and to improve their scores.

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

Technical Sergeant Roewno S. Baquiroza, 45, from the Philippines, said: "We are looking forward to the next time Singapore plays host."

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 (2018).