PLA Army cadets participate in int'l patrol competition in Chile

China Military
Huang Panyue
The opening ceremony of the international patrol competition is held in Santiago, capital of Chile, March 8, 2017. ( Li Guang, Zhang Qiang)

By Li Lu and Liu Xiaocheng

SANTIAGO, CHILE, Mar. 28 (ChinaMil) -- A total of 14 military academy teams from ten countries including China, the United States, Britain and Brazil attended the International Military Education Conference and the International Patrol Competition in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Military Academy of General Bernadro O'Higgins in Santiago, capital of Chile, from March 8 to March 17, 2017.

This military academy is named after General Bernardo O'Higgins, a leader in Chile’s struggle for independence, and is also a famous military academy in Chile.

The Army Officer Academy of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) attended the competition on behalf of Chinese military academies. It sent ten cadets to join the competition with another 130 cadets from world-class military academies including the United States' Military Academy at West Point and Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS).

With “conducting armed patrol and combat by infantry squads of mountain troops” as tactical background, the competition involved 14 training subjects, namely fittings check, first-aid to the battle wounded, vehicle rescue, hand grenade throwing, rifle shooting, chemical weapons protection and neighborhood search and rescue, boat rescue at sea, night orienteering, 7.5-km armed cross-country, battlefield assault, 1,000-meter Ranger steeplechase, field cooperative carrying, helicopter maneuver, and command capability challenge. All these subjects were held in succession within 48 hours.

Tests were everywhere for the cadets of the PLA Army Officer Academy who went abroad to join an international competition for the first time.

All the weapons and equipment used in the competition were provided by the organizers, and Chinese participants had never touched or used them before. For example, the French Gazelle helicopters were adopted for the helicopter maneuver subject, and the Galil ACE22 automatic rifles were used in the rifle shooting subject.

The competition area was also unfamiliar to the Chinese participants and the situations and settings were very complicated. For example, the subject of boat rescue at sea was held near the Pacific east coast where the rough sea might easily lead to a shipwreck or an overboard fall at any time.

In addition, participants also had to overcome unfavorable factors during the competition including lack of hot food and sleep hours, as well as the sharp temperature differences between the day and night.

Participating cadets of the PLA Army Officer Academy faced up to the difficulties and won three first prizes in the 7.5-km armed cross-country, 1,000-meter Ranger steeplechase and field cooperative carrying.

They also won two second’s in the boat rescue at sea, and rifle shooting, and ranked the third in the total points, only narrowly lost to the host Chile’s General Bernadro O'Higgins Military Academy team and the US Military Academy at West Point team.

After the competition, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Army Commander-in-chief General Humberto Oviedo Arriagada met with Chinese military academy team members respectively, and praised Chinese participating cadets' outstanding performance.

Cadets from the PLA Army Officer Academy carry ammunition boxes in the field cooperative carrying subject during the competition. ( Li Guang, Zhang Qiang) 

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