Training to compete in South Africa 2010

Five New York Army National Guard Soldiers who will represent the U.S. Army at a military skills competition in South Africa next month conducted a one-day training session at the New York National Guard Guilderland Weekend Training Site Oct. 15.

Five Soldiers and two alternates from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, based at the Gloversville Armory, will compete The Soldiers are: Sgt. 1st Class Troy Mechanic, Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Orabona, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Dorvee, Spc. David Hanson, Pvt. 1st Class Michael Ellsworth, Sgt. Justin Vonderhyde, and Sgt. Thomas Myers.

The Soldiers conducted familiarization fire on weapons similar to those they will use at the South African Military Skills Competition. It was their only opportunity to train before the competition, which will be held Nov. 8-14 in in Potchefstroom, South Africa Potchefstroom, South Africa.

The New York Army National Guard routinely conducts bilateral training opportunities and service member exchanges with the South African National Defense Force as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, which pairs a U.S. National Guard with a developing nation’s military. New York has been partnered with South Africa since 2005.

The South African Military Skills Competition brings members of the reserve forces of South Africa and other nations together in a friendly competition that also serves as a training venue.

Other nations sending five-member teams to the event will be the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Canada and Tanzania. Each team will consist of four competitors and a coach.

Soldiers will be judged on their ability with the South African R4 rifle and the Star pistol, negotiating land- and water-obstacle courses, grenade throwing and an eight-kilometer cross country run.

Competitors will wear swim trunks for the water-obstacle task, running clothes for the eight-kilometer race and combat gear for the other sections of the competition.

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