BAGRAM, Afghanistan – On Jan. 1, 1993, Slovakia became independent, after dissolution of then Czechoslovakia. With the new nation came a force to defend her; The Fifth Special Forces Regiment. This special operations unit stood up just a few days after Slovakian secession, became a NATO member and deployed its' special operations forces to Afghanistan, where they train, advise and assist Afghan Commandos.
Due to operational demands, regimental members put off celebrating their 25-year anniversary. With the Afghan government and Islamic holiday of Ashura, NATO forces assigned to Afghan National Army Special Operations Command, Special Operations Advisory Team's (ANASOC-SOAT) decided to observe the Slovak Special Forces regimental anniversary by hosting a friendly shooting competition.
According to Captain Andro, the Slovak Special Forces SOAT commander and Slovak Fifth Special Forces Regiment commander, the competition was designed to promote camaraderie between all NATO troops participating and present.
A member of the Polish Special Operations Advisory Team (SOAT) fires at three targets in a simulated room clearing scenario before moving to his next target during a Slovakian-hosted shooting competition to commemorate Slovakia's 5th Special Forces Regiment 25-year anniversary near Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 21, 2018. The Polish team placed fourth and fifth in the competition.
"It's important to remember one's history and take time to celebrate. What better way to celebrate while deployed than to enjoy some friendly competition and delicious Slovak goulash," said Andro.
The timed competition tested soldier on four shooting stages, and induced physical stress by incorporating two transitions between shooting; a simulated casualty carry, and 90 pound rope pull. The individual with the most hits on target and the fastest course completion time would win the competition.
Approximately 25 NATO members, representing the U.S., Spain, Poland, and Slovakia participated in the competition. The Slovak judges recognized the top five competitors with the best times and performance. The U.S. took first place, Spain second, Slovakia third, and Poland placed fourth and fifth.
After the competition, event coordinators presented participants with mementos, followed by a meal of authentic Slovak goulash and a short video presentation on Slovakia's history.