~ Results 46th WPW & 26th AFSAM Sniper Championship
Article by Capt. Theresa L. Walker, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center and Photos by Master Sgt. Jonathan Brizendine, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center
ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. – 15 National Guard sniper teams from across the U.S. gathered, along with four foreign ally nation’s sniper teams and six interservice sniper teams to train through competition in this year’s 46th Annual Winston P. Wilson (WPW) and 26th Annual Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meet (AFSAM) Sniper Championships hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC) at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ark. April 21-27, 2017.
The results were a fairly tight a shot group as riflemen say, which is quite a surprise considering this training competition is a blind shoot. Meaning competitors do not know what each course of fire is until they show up at each match, and they do not know the scores of each of their events until the very last day.
This year’s 2017 AFSAM matches resulted in the U.S. Army Sniper School, with 336 points, taking first place as well as Overall Sniper Champions. Taking second place, with 318 points, is U.S. Marine Corps School of Infantry-West and third is the Army Warrior Training Center, with 312 points.
The WPW 2017 Champion Sniper Team is from Michigan National Guard, with 316 points. Taking second place is Iowa National Guard with 275 points, and third place is Arizona National Guard with 273 points.
Trophies, awards and winning is nice, however these competitions are so much more for these guys.
“This is a good opportunity to come to and hone those skills and see what you are proficient in and what you need to work on,” said Staff Sgt. Kenny Witt, NGMTC sniper instructor. “We have four different countries here this year, and they feel that it is good enough that they come over here as well.”
At the WPW and the AFSAM Sniper Championships, snipers from across the nation and the world have an excellent opportunity to train in those critical sniper skills, that they may not be able to train in at their home station.
“In the National Guard, due to the training one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year, training and getting the gun time they need to hone their skills and be proficient at marksmanship is not as much as you think it would be,” said Witt. “So, a competition like this gives them the ability to come get a lot of gun time, work on their skill craft, stalking, land nav, and high elevation shooting, which is something back at their home station they may not get to accomplish.”
Going to sniper school and passing doesn’t make a good sniper; it’s skills.
“Even though you go to the sniper school, doesn’t mean that you are a fully qualified skilled sniper,” Witt said. “Yeah, you have the identifier, but you are always continuing to learn and improve on those skills through out your career.”
Using training opportunities in competitions like this helps improve accuracy which is most important.
“The end goal is increased accuracy resulting in more troops coming home from deployments in one piece,” said Lt. Col. Todd Stuff, NGMTC administrative officer. “When that happens, we’re all winners.”
Take a look at the video link below to view some of the training conducted at this year’s Sniper Championships. Also, for more information about getting involved, contact Maj. Dwayne Page 501-212-4531 or visit us on the web at https://ngmtc.wordpress.com.