49th WPW and 29th AFSAM Sniper Championships
BY SPC. MELODY DANIEL, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST, NATIONAL GUARD MARKSMANSHIP TRAINING CENTER
BARLING, Arkansas – Twenty-seven, two-person teams of military snipers from around across the U.S. National Guard, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Poland competed in the 49th Winston P. Wilson (WPW) Sniper Championship (National Guard) and the 29th Annual Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting (International and Inter-Service) February 15 through 20, 2019, at Fort Chaffee in Barling, Arkansas. The event was hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center. These championships offered service members an opportunity to test sniper skills and weapon systems in a battle-focused environment.
This year’s tournament included many unique teams, including a team from South Carolina comprised of twin brothers Staff Sgt. Brandon Sloan and Staff Sgt. Cory Sloan.
“We’ve always loved shooting. Cory was offered a sniper position first,” said Brandon Sloan. “Eventually we both ended up on the team. This is actually the first time we have competed together as a sniper team.”
“The training value is one of the most valuable benefits of being here,” said Cory Sloan. “We don’t have the resources, personnel or ranges to get this type of training value in South Carolina.”
Beginning in 1971, the WPW sniper competition has been held annually to determine the best shooters in the United States National Guard. This year’s winner was from the Kansas National Guard, represented by Sgt. Caleb Ash and Sgt. Ryan Marsh. The winners are recipients of the prestigious Chiefs 50 Marksmanship Badge. The Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge was established to provide evidence and public recognition of outstanding marksmanship abilities as demonstrated at the National Guard Championships.
The Spc. Christopher Horton Memorial Award, given for WPW first place in Precision Engagement, was awarded to a team from the Alabama National Guard comprised of Sgt. Tyler Gray and Staff Sgt. Adam Batten. The CWO David R. Logan Sniper Trophy, awarded to the WPW team who places first in the Best Field Craft series, was presented to Spc. Matthew Fitzgerald and Sgt. Alexander Kallenbach of the Michigan National Guard.
Established in 1991, the Armed Forces Skills at Arms Meeting (AFSAM) is a multi-national competition that was created to promote marksmanship training and competition between United States military forces and allied nations. This year’s winner for the AFSAM sniper championship was the team from Denmark, represented by Lance Cpl. Steven Baunsgaard and Lance Cpl. Christopher Franch. This team also placed first overall in points for the combined competitions. The AFSAM event ran concurrently with the Winston P. Wilson Championship and incorporates the same courses of fire.
“We wanted to make our country proud,” said Baunsgaard. “We talked about it and we felt really good about our chances.”
Franch followed by saying, “When we heard our names called, the stone fell from our hearts. You know, all the pressure went away and we had won.”
2020 National Guard Sniper Competition Scores
WPW Sniper Team Champions
- Kansas Team, Sgt. Caleb Ash and Sgt. Ryan Marsh (Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge)
- Colorado Team, Spc. Max Miller and Sgt. Triston Ivkov (Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge)
- Vermont Team, Spc. Michael Kerr and Sgt. Connor Norton
WPW Precision Engagement Team Champions:
Alabama Team 2, Sgt. Tyler Gray and Staff Sgt. Adam Batten
WPW Silent Hunter Team Champions:
Michigan Team, Spc. Matthew Fitzgerald and Sgt. Alexander Kallenbach
AFSAM Sniper Team Champions
- Royal Danish Army, Lance Cpl. Steven Baunsgaard and Christopher Franch
- California All Guard Team, Staff Sgt. Erik Vargas and Staff Sgt. Demetrios Iannios
- Michigan All Guard Team, Spc. Ivan Wolshlager and Sgt. Nicholas Peters
AFSAM Precision Engagement Team Champions:
California All Guard Team, Staff Sgt. Erik Vargas and Staff Sgt. Demetrios Iannios
AFSAM Silent Hunter Team Champions:
Michigan All Guard Team, Spc. Ivan Woslhlager and Sgt. Nicholas Peters
For all results click this link then Sniper 2020 at the top: 2020 Results