BERAKAS, Brunei Darussalam --
With a goal of working together as one, 18 nations combined into teams to compete against each other in a sports field meet at Berakas Army Garrison Camp, Brunei Darussalam, to promote camaraderie and good relations June 14.
The competition took place as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) – Plus ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (AHMX).
“I think it’s universally agreed upon that sporting events and friendly competition brings people closer together,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Victor S. Parker, a hospital corpsman with the Naval Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit 6. “The memories we made today will be talked about throughout the exercise. With the importance of what we are doing during the exercise, this was a great opportunity to get to know each other prior to the execution of it.”
During the field meet, nations competed in a four-team, 400-meter relay event and a tug-of-war competition.
While winners were recognized in the events, the purpose of the meet was to allow the different nations a chance to interact and build lasting memories that will carry on into the exercise and the future, according to Indian Army Maj. Vijay Bohra, a physician participating in the exercise.
“It was electrifying to see everyone working together as a team and not an individual country,” said Bohra. “When you are dealing with medicine, you need to have that cohesion with your counterparts because in a crisis it is not about you, it is about the patient.”
Participating nations included medical personnel from the ASEAN-comprised nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; and other Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the U.S.
Although the game was played with friendship in mind, the players still ensured the game was physical and entertaining as competitors could be seen racing at high speeds during the relay and strenuously working together in the tug-of-war matches.
“I think it was clear that everyone was enjoying not only rooting for their nation, but also for their integrated teams,” said Malaysian Army Capt. Ahmed Asyraf, a dentist with 1st Medical Battalion. “I was personally integrated with service members from India, Russia and the U.S. I thought we worked extremely well together and am hopeful the camaraderie we built during the day will carry on into the exercise.”
At the end of the day, service members from China and Singapore were crowned victors in the relay race while Japan and Thailand members claimed victory in the tug-of-war competition.
When the exercise kicks off, ASEAN and non-ASEAN members will work together on a simulated disaster relief effort. The focus will be on a post-tropical revolving storm (TRS) typhoon rescue, survey, recovery and disaster relief in the vicinity of the District of Temburong, as well as other locations in Bandar Seri Begawan, Muara Naval Base and Rimba Air Force Base.
The exercise, which is scheduled from June 16 to 20, provides an opportunity for participating nations to hone their communication skills and learn from each other’s unique experiences and expertise, better preparing partner nations for a unified approach to future contingencies.