Arkansas, North Dakota Guardsmen Win National Rifle and Pistol Championships

~ 50th WPW Rifle and Pistol Championships

by Maj. Theresa Austin, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Fifty-three four-person teams from across the National Guard competed in the 50th Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championship on Aug. 28-Sept. 2.

“We are truly honored to have teams from across the nation at the 2021 WPW Rifle and Pistol Championship,” said Col. Andy Bussell, commander of the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center, which hosted the event here at the Robinson Maneuver Training Center. 

Out of the 42 National Guard states and territories in attendance this year, Arkansas and North Dakota Guardsmen walked away with the highest honors. 

The Arkansas National Guard received the Overall State Team Trophy. Representing Arkansas was Capt. Garrett Miller, Lt. Col. David Stapp, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Noe, and Master Sgt. Nathan Watters.

2021 WPW and AFSAM Rifle and Pistol Championships
The Arkansas National Guard team, U.S. Army Capt. Garrett Miller, Lt. Col. David Stapp and Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Noe, and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nathan Watters, received the Overall State Team Trophy during the 50th Winston P. Wilson Championships award ceremony held at the Professional Education Center on Sept. 2. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Charles D. Davis)

The Pennsylvania National Guard team, Chief Master Sgt. Edward Altmeyer, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Richard Jones, and Sgts. Robert Lydic and Jason Goodling, placed second. Alabama guardsmen, Sgt. First Class Aaron Ford, Staff Sgt. Marshall Hodge, and Spcs. Avery Rains and Jacob Watkins, finished third overall and all earned the prestigious Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge for the first time.

Staff Sgt. Gavin Rook, North Dakota National Guard, is the Individual Grand Aggregate Champion and recipient of the Lloyd Nelson Trophy. Staff Sgt. John Jordan, South Carolina National Guard, earned second place overall and is a new recipient of the Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge. Staff Sgt. Erik Vargas, California National Guard, is the third-place WPW champion, and earlier this year, he represented the National Guard on the All Guard Sniper Team who won the Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting Sniper Championships.

2021 WPW and AFSAM Rifle and Pistol Championships
Staff Sgt. Gavin Rook, North Dakota Air National Guard, is announced the 50th Winston P. Wilson Championship Individual Overall Champion and is presented a plaque by Col. Andy Bussell, commander of the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center, during an awards ceremony at the Professional Education Center on Sept. 2. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Charles D. Davis)

Rook and Vargas are previous recipients of the Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge, and were recognized again, this year in both pistol and rifle. Rook first earned his badge in the pistol discipline and Vargas’ was in sniper. 

This badge is the highest marksmanship badge given by the National Guard and each year, only 50 total shooters, shared between rifle, pistol, sniper and machine gun disciplines, are recognized as the Chief’s 50 top national-level shooters. Each badge, which can only be received once, is unique to the recipient and has a discipline-specific serial number, their name and the year they earned it engraved on the back.

This year at the rifle and pistol championship there were only 19 new badges given but four of the new recipients earned recognition in both rifle and pistol. The other 23 slots were filled by previous recipients, nine of who earned recognition in both pistol and rifle this year. 

“The training value is immense,” said 1st Lt. Parker Deese, the Novice Individual Grand Aggregate Champion from the Texas National Guard. “You have shooters here who’ve been in this competition for 20 years or more. Those individuals are a wealth of knowledge…that needs to be passed on to new shooters.”

The competition is steep at these matches and leads to better readiness, which is the key priority of the NGMTC.

“The National Guard Marksmanship Training Center, as the home to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau’s marksmanship program, tries to ensure that each member of his Army and Air National Guard is fully capable of employing his/her assigned weapon,” said Bussell.

Soldiers and Airmen enjoy the competition and the training they receive while here.

“The competition is great…awesome place for soldiers to come out and test their marksmanship abilities,” said Deese. “I think it makes a better fighting force overall. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The NGMTC sponsors the WPW Championships at no cost to state commanders, and encourages them to send their service members.

“These competitions add value to commanders,” said Stapp, Arkansas Alpha team captain. “Commanders can support their troops, let them attend these matches and they get excellent marksmanship sustainment training.”

50th Winston P. Wilson Results

Overall State Champions
Overall State Champions Trophy: Arkansas: Miller, Noe, Stapp, and Watters 
Second Place- Pennsylvania: Altmeyer, Goodling, Jones, and Lydic 
Third Place- Alabama: Ford, Hodge, Rains and Watkins

Combat Rifle Team Aggregate Champions
Combat Rifle Team Aggregate Trophy: Pennsylvania: Altmeyer, Goodling, Jones, and Lydic
Second Place- Arkansas: Miller, Noe, Stapp, and Watters
Third Place- Texas: Deese, 1st Lt. Larry Bunytyn, Master Sgt. James Dermody, and Sgt. 1st Class Mark Montoya

Combat Pistol Team Aggregate Champions
Combat Pistol Team Aggregate Trophy: California: Vargas, Sgt 1st Class Henry Miller, and Sgts. Howard Hall and Gage Young, 
Second Place- Arkansas: Miller, Noe, Stapp, and Watters
Third Place- Nebraska: Sgt. 1st Class Adam Borer, 1st Lt. Benjamin Jochum, Capt. Jonathan Lintz, and Staff Sgt. Maxwell Maguire

Individual Grand Aggregate Champion
Recipient of the Lloyd Nelson Trophy: Rook
Second Place- Jordan
Third Place- Vargas

Combat Rifle Individual Aggregate Champion
Recipient of the Combat rifle Individual Aggregate Trophy: Vargas
Second Place- Jordan
Third Place- Deese 

Combat Pistol Individual Aggregate Champion
Recipient of the Combat Pistol Individual Aggregate Trophy: Noe 
Second Place- Hodge
Third Place- Hall

High Individual New Shooter

Recipient of the SSG Millard Butler Team Leader award: Hall

Individual Grand Aggregate Champion-Novice
First Place-Deese
Second Place- Senior Airman Andrew Jaques, Arkansas National Guard
Third Place- Young

Combat Rifle Individual Aggregate Champion-Novice
First Place-Deese
Second Place- Jaques
Third Place- Sgt. Daniel Quesenbery, Indiana National Guard

Combat Pistol Individual Aggregate Champion-Novice
Recipient of the Stuart R. Clingman Trophy: Young 
Second Place- 1st Lt. Benjamin Holden, Nevada National Guard
Third Place- Deese

New Chief’s 50 Recipients

2021 WPW and AFSAM Rifle and Pistol Championships
Nineteen new recipients of the Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge pose for a photo during an award ceremony held at the Professional Education Center on Sept. 2 On behalf of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Col. Andy Bussell, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center commander, presented the Chief’s 50 Badge to the top rifle and pistol shooters from the 50th Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championships . (U.S. Army National Guard video by 2nd Lt. Charles D. Davis)

Rifle and Pistol

Jordan, Lintz and Sgt. Mack Williams, South Carolina National Guard

Rifle

Deese, Montoya, Ford, Watkins, Jaques, Sgt. Austin Norcross, Colorado National Guard, 1st Sgt. Clint Sandness, South Dakota National Guard, and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Westover, Vermont National Guard

Pistol

Hodge, Hall, Young, Holden, Staff Sgt. Kevin Pritchett, South Carolina National Guard, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Bautista, Idaho National Guard, 1st Lt. Jacob Teuschler, Indiana National Guard, and Senior Master Sgt. Brian McDonald, Tennessee National Guard

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About Us:  Established in 1968, the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC) is the National Guard Home of Marksmanship. NGMTC is the National Guard Bureau’s center for managing marksmanship training courses and competitive marksmanship programs with the intent to advance small arms lethality, demonstrate National Guard marksmanship capability, and enhance marksmanship effectiveness in combat. NGMTC serves all 54 states and territories and is located on Robinson Maneuver Training Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas. NGMTC is headquarters for the “All Guard” competitive shooting teams: service rifle, service pistol, sniper, multi-gun, tactical athlete, and international combat teams. The NGMTC is also home to the annual Winston P. Wilson National Championships, where guardsmen may earn the NGB Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge. For more information call 501-212-4513/4549, visit our website https://ngmtc.wordpress.com or find us on http://www.facebook.com/NGMTC.

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