Chilean Military School Cadets Excel at West Point Competition

Versão em português

Horacio Alvarado

The Chilean Military School won fifth place overall during the 49th annual Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the United States Military Academy at West Point. A total of 59 teams, including seven from foreign countries, competed from April 10-11.

The competition, which Military authorities launched in 1967, tests both individual and team Military skills, as well as leadership abilities and athletic proficiency. In addition to the Chilean Military School's team, participants also included international teams from Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Qatar, South Korea, and Canada, as well as multiple teams from the United States — in total, 564 competitors. Every team had nine members, including at least one woman each.

Victory through teamwork

“The overall purpose of these competitions is to understand that today the Soldier generally can not fight alone, but must be integrated into a team, and these teams primarily make up their own institutions. Today no objectives are achieved without serious teamwork,” said Carlos Ojeda, a retired Chilean Army Colonel. “This competition brings the challenges of understanding your strengths within your own context and how you can use them in the international context, which encourages preparation.”

To that end, the competition featured 22 tasks testing physical capability and mental agility, including the transport of wounded Troops under fire; marksmanship; obstacle course; nuclear, chemical and biological war procedures; grenade-throwing; navigation; developing the best strategy for managing artillery support while under an enemy barrage, and a leadership test called "challenge."

Chilean team finishes in the top five

Competitors earned one of four evaluations for each task: Not completed, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Likewise, each team earned a rating at the end of the competition. The top five teams in the overall standings of the competition:

1st: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Red (United Kingdom) /Gold

2nd: H3 Company – West Point (U.S.) /Gold

3rd: Naval Academy (U.S.) /Gold

4th: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Blue (U.K.) /Gold

5th: Military School (Chile) /Silver

Competing Military authorities lauded the performance of the Chilean team, commanded by Army Brigadier Andrés Yurazseck, whose members won second place in shooting and first place in an event in which they covered ground faster than the other competitors. For instance, Major General Stuart Skeates, the Commander of the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, praised the Chilean Cadets for the "courage, physical ability, and tactical approach (they) demonstrated."

The competition also provided Cadets and Troops from different countries an opportunity to meet and learn from each other. “It is important to start generating contacts between the different Armies of different countries because cooperative security relies on the participation of many,” Col. Ojeda said.

Chile’s key role in international security

Chilean Cadets and Troops have been generating such contacts through Military events with Soldiers from other Armed Forces throughout the world for years.

For example, Chile is part of the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored PANAMAX exercises, which involve the operational deployment of forces to protect the Panama Canal and the Central American region. PANAMAX is an annual multinational Military exercise that began in 2003. Originally proposed by Chile, PANAMAX came to fruition with coordinated efforts among Chile, Panama, and the United States.

PANAMAX has grown significantly over the years in terms of the countries participating and assets used. Today, the multi-national force includes forces and integrated staff members from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and in cooperation with the United Nations and the Conference of Central American Armies.

“Chile is absolutely integrated into the system of global security from a cooperative perspective," Col. Ojeda said, "and these exercises are key to understanding the logic of planning and training with foreign forces.”


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