~Pennsylvania Army National Guard wins 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 2 Championship recipients
by Maj. Theresa Austin, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center
ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, North Little Rock, Arkansas – Fifty competitors from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia Army and Air National Guards came together for a time of learning, camaraderie and competition during the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Two (MAC 2) Marksmanship Championships held at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania August 23-26, 2018.
Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guards took home the title of first and second place combined arms team aggregate champions, and they, also, claim the first, second and third place combat pistol individual aggregate champions with Capt. James Kistler, Army National Guard, in first place.
Delaware and Virginia Army National Guards also took home top honors. Spc. Zachary Wilson with Virginia Army National Guard is the combined arms individual aggregate champion and Staff Sgt. Basil Woodall with the Delaware Army National Guard is the combat rifle individual aggregate champion.
It’s not surprising that Pennsylvania performed so well, with their long history of performing very well in competition. Out of all 54 states and territories, Pennsylvania holds the record, 54 recipients, for the highest number of Chief’s 50 Badge recipients dating back to the programs inception in 1971, according to the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center Chief’s 50 program-manager.
A Chief’s 50 recipient hailing from Pennsylvania was this year’s MAC 2 Regional Championship Director. 1st Lt. Garrett Miller is, also, a member of the U.S. National Guard All Guard Combat Team. He said, “In these [MAC] competitions we have a unique ability to give some units what they usually wouldn’t get any exposure to.”
Capt. Kistler expounded on that saying, “The MAC is the same as last year except we are using M14’s instead of shotguns. There’s a lot of people who aren’t experienced on that rifle, so it’s a level playing field.”
The M14 is a rifle that fires 7.62 mm rounds. In 1959, the M1 Grand was replaced by the M14 as the standard issue rifle for military troops. However, today in the Army this rifle is usually only used by specially trained Soldiers called squad designated marksmen (SDM).
“We have some national match M14’s in our inventory,” said Miller. “We took M14s and M118 ammo to give them additional familiarization with a weapon system that they may not get the chance to shoot. Many units don’t get any real exposure shooting real 7.62 platforms like the M14 that SDM’s get assigned to shoot when they are overseas.”
Master Sgt. Eric Moskel is extremely knowledgeable on the use of small arms weapon systems. He is a state policeman and a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard security forces. Notably this summer, using only iron-sights, he made the President’s 100, placing him among the elite shooters in the nation, which is quite a feat in an of its self, but especially because most competitors today are using scopes on their rifles.
Soldiers and Airmen who have deployed overseas in a force-on-force duty position can tell you that it is stressful and there is a lot of pressure. Master Sgt. Moskel explains how competition helps with training for that type of situation.
“Competition adds a level of stress,” said Moskel. “Other than force on force, the best way to add stress to shooting is competition, because if you’re just out there shooting by yourself you don’t have the level of stress that you do when you’re competing against your peers.”
Not many Soldiers or Airmen have the opportunity to use the M14 Service Rifle, and the use of that weapon during this year’s MAC 2 Championship was a unique learning opportunity for all.
Combined Arms Team Aggregate Champions:
- Pennsylvania- Alpha from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard score 2722-47X (Team members: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Richard Jones; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Denver Gillham; Capt. James Kistler; Sgt. 1st Class Scott Sheroky)
- Pennsylvania- Bravo from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard score 2568-30X (Team members: Master Sgt. Eric Moskel; Senior Airman Robert Lydic; Staff Sgt. Cory Walker; Tech. Sgt. Shawn McCreary)
- Delaware- Alpha from the Delaware Army National Guard score 2562-21X (Team members: Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Stike; Staff Sgt. Timothy Gantzhorn; Staff Sgt. Basil Woodall; Sgt. Albert Whitlock)
Combined Arms Individual Aggregate Champion:
- Zachary Wilson, Virginia Army National Guard; score 563-10X
- Staff Sgt. Basil Woodall, Delaware Army National Guard; score 554-9X
- Albert Whitlock, Delaware Army National Guard; score 538-4X
Combat Rifle individual Aggregate Champion:
- Staff Sgt. Basil Woodall, Delaware Army National Guard; score 406-6X
- Zachary Wilson, Virginia Army National Guard; score 402-4X
- 1st Class Justin Clymer, Delaware Army National Guard; score 396-7X
Combat Pistol individual Aggregate Champion:
- James Kistler, Pennsylvania Army National Guard; score 175-11X
- 1st Class Scott Sheroky, Pennsylvania Army National Guard; score 174-9X
- Senior Airman Robert Lydic, Pennsylvania Air National Guard; score 163-4X