The cornerstone of soldiering

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The bright red, yellow and white muzzle flash can be seen milliseconds before the bullet leaves the rifle barrel as an Air National Guardsmen fires his rifle during one of the many marksmanship matches that make up the Marksmanship Advisory Council (MAC) Region 1 Marksmanship Championships held June 20-23, 2019 at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Theresa Austin)

~Vermont Army National Guard wins 2019 MAC 1 Championship
by Maj. Theresa Austin, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – “Marksmanship is the basic Soldier skill that forms the cornerstone for our Soldiers to bring lethal effects on the enemy,” said Maj. Brooks Hayward, New Hampshire Army National Guard.

How does one build upon the cornerstone of Soldier marksmanship? Participating in shooting competitions like the Marksmanship Advisory Council (MAC) Region One Marksmanship Championships.

The MAC 1 Marksmanship Championships were held June 20-23, 2019 at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont and had 74 competitors from the Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhoad Island and Vermont Army and Air National Guard, as well as two visiting teams from Nebraska, MAC 5.

National Guardsmen from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Nebraska took home the top three overall team and individual titles.

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The Vermont Alpha Team, Army National Guard, pose for a photo with Chief Warrant Officer 5 Larry Grace, Vermont Army National Guard, after receiving their Overall Team Champions Certificate and individual team medallions on June 23, 2019 at the conclusion of the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1 “MAC 1” Marksmanship Championships held June 20-23 at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. (left tor right: Sgt. Maxim Nickerson, Staff Sgt. Robert Tucker, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Larry Grace, Sgt. Benjamin Carey, Sgt. Conner Norton) (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Theresa Austin)

Staff Sgt. David Musso, New Hampshire National Guard, not only earned third place overall individual but also shot his personal best in the Pistol Excellence-in-Competition Match. He currently works full time for the New Hampshire National Guard and serves as a marksmanship trainer for their state Warrior Training Team, which focuses on building readiness and lethality among the New Hampshire guard units.

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Tech Sgt. Jennifer Knipp, 157th Air Refueling Wing, New Hampshire Air National Guard, fires the M9 service pistol while standing on the 30-yard-line during the Pistol Excellence-in-Competition Match June 22, 2019. The Marksmanship Advisory Council (MAC) Region 1 Marksmanship Championships were held June 20 thru 23 at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont and had 74 competitors from the Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhoad Island and Vermont Army and Air National Guard, as well as two visiting teams from Nebraska, MAC 5. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Theresa Austin)

Musso says, “More Soldiers need to take advantage of the National Guard’s competitive marksmanship programs; they are additional training. States don’t have time and funding to support additional marksmanship training. The competitive marksmanship program is fully funded by the NGMTC (National Guard Marksmanship Training Center), and they fund Soldiers to attend competitive events at regional, national and international levels.”

State National Guards, who take advantage of this additional marksmanship training and competitive marksmanship programs, provided by the NGMTC, know it is influential in improving combat effectiveness.

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As a .45 caliber pistol casing leaves the ejection port, the sound of a multitude of pistols firing repeatedly at the same time can be heard while observing Staff Sgt. Orville Porter, Forward Support Company 204th Engineer Battalion, 53rd Troop Command, New York Army National Guard, who has a calm almost rhythmic firing pattern while engaging the Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) targets during the EIC match of the Marksmanship Advisory Council (MAC) Region 1 Marksmanship Championships that were held June 20-23 at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Theresa Austin)

One of the areas Musso feels is important for combat effectiveness is the ability to accurately engage targets beyond the standard qualification distance of 300 meters.

“Most [Soldiers] don’t shoot at distances beyond 300 meters or shoot at 300 [meters] well,” said Musso, “but, here, they are expected to shoot from 400 meters and they realize they can accurately engage targets out to 400 meters.”

Both, Musso and Maj. Hayward, are huge advocates for the NGMTC marksmanship programs and both agree, When you practice marksmanship it’s for lethality.

Below are the team and individual champions and more results can be found at https://wpwafsam.weebly.com/mac-regional-events.html.

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Sgt. Maxim Nickerson, Vermont Army National Guard, poses for a photo with Chief Warrant Officer 5 Larry Grace, Vermont Army National Guard, after receiving the Individual Aggregate Champions trophy on June 23, 2019 at the conclusion of the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1 “MAC 1” Marksmanship Championships held June 20-23 at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Maj. Theresa Austin)

Team Pistol and Rifle Championship Aggregate:
1. Vermont-Alpha, Vermont Army National Guard, score 2505-29X
(Staff Sgt. Robert Tucker, Sgt. Benjamin Carey, Sgt. Conner Norton, Sgt. Maxim Nickerson)
2. Nebraska-Bravo, Nebraska Army National Guard, score 2163-22X
(1st Lt. Jonathan Lintz, Sgt 1st Class Heath Wragge, Staff Sgt. Seth Gorham, Spc. Spencer Kort)
3. Vermont-Bravo, Vermont Army National Guard, score 2150-29X
(Capt. Cliffton Allen, Capt. Christopher Clements, Tech Sgt. Robert Marciniak, Staff Sgt. Erick Willis)

Overall Aggregate Champion:
1. Sgt. Maxim Nickerson, Vermont Army National Guard; score 1139-22X
2. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Giradin, Maine Army National Guard; score 1066-24X
3. Staff Sgt. David Musso, Vermont Army National Guard; score 1041-18X

About Us: Established in 1968, the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC) is the National Guard Bureau’s (NGB) center for managing marksmanship training courses and competitive marksmanship programs. It serves all 54 states and territories and is located on Robinson Maneuver Training Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The NGMTC is headquarters for the “All Guard” service rifle, service pistol, multi-gun, 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 501-212-4531/4549, visit us at https://ngmtc.wordpress.com or http://www.facebook.com/NGMTC.

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National Guard Marksmanship Teams add six new President’s 100 Tab recipients to the ranks of elite marksmen

~Six new President’s 100 Tab and three new Distinguished Badge recipients
by Maj. Theresa Austin, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

Six members of the National Guard All Guard Team earned the rare President’s 100 Tab for the first time during the 2018 Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) National Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio July 1-August 8, 2018.

The Tab is awarded to the top scoring 100 rifle and 100 pistol shooters who compete in the President’s 100 match each year at the CMP and when earned by military personnel, the President’s 100 Tab may be worn on the uniform of several branches of service. The National Guard had 16 recipients this year.

“President’s 100 tab is one of those things that not very many people earn. It signifies that you are at the top of that category as the go to person for marksmanship in a profession where marksmanship is everything,” said Spc. Andrew Traciak, National Guard All Guard Service Rifle Team member from Washington Army National Guard.

Spc. Traciak earned his President’s 100 Rifle tab for the first time this year during the CMP and there were, also, five others who earned the President’s 100 Tab for the first time.

The President’s 100 Rifle Tab:
– Staff Sgt. Joseph Berendzen, South Carolina Army National Guard
– Master Sgt Donnie Hicks, Texas Air National Guard

The President’s 100 Pistol Tab:
– Cadet Lisa Emmert, Michigan Army National Guard
– Sgt. Brian Bleuer, Iowa Army National Guard
– Sgt. 1st Class Seth Innes, Florida Army National Guard

All Guard Service Rifle Team at 2018 Civilian Marksmanship Progam National Matches
The All Guard Service Rifle Team members who earned the President’s 100 Rifle Tab during the Civilian Marksmanship Program National Matches July 23 – Aug. 5, 2018 at Camp Perry, Ohio. (Left to Right: 1st time recipient Staff Sgt. Joseph Berendzen, South Carolina Army National Guard; 1st time recipient Spc. Andrew Traciak, Washington Army National Guard; multiple recipient Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard; 1st time recipient Master Sgt Donnie Hicks, Texas Air National Guard; multiple recipient Master Sgt. Greg Neiderhiser, Pennsylvania Army National Guard; multiple recipient Master Sgt. Mike Hester, Arkansas Army National Guard; not depicted 1st time recipient Sgt. John Paul Cholak, Texas Army National Guard) (photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

Several team members continued to demonstrate outstanding performance as multiple recipients of the President’s 100 Tab.

The President’s 100 Rifle Tab:
– Master Sgt. Mike Hester, Arkansas Army National Guard
– Sgt. 1st Class John Paul Cholak, Texas Army National Guard
– Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard
– Master Sgt. Greg Neiderhiser, Pennsylvania Army National Guard

The President’s 100 Pistol Tab:
– Master Sgt. Morgan Jenkins, Wyoming Army National Guard
– Sgt. 1stClass Eric Lawerence, South Carolina Army National Guard
– Sgt. Nestor Pena, Puerto Rico Army National Guard
– Spc. Carl Trompeter, New York Army National Guard
– Capt. Travis Whalmeir, Nebraska Army National Guard
– Master Sgt. Travis Zwickle, Nebraka Army National Guard

The President’s 100 wasn’t the only prestigious award won this year.

Technical Sgt. Eric Rueth with the Wisconsin Air National Guard and Master Sgt. Hester earned their Distinguished Rifleman Badge and Cadet Emmert earned her Distinguished Pistol Badge.

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Cadet Lisa Emmert, All Guard Service Pistol Team member with the Michigan Army National Guard, earned her Distinguished Pistol Badge this year. (photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

The President’s 100 Tab and the Distinguished Rifle and Pistol Badges are not often earned by military personnel and seen worn on the uniform, but when recognized, these awards identify them as being among the most elite marksmen in their service.”

Traciak may only be a specialist in the National Guard, but he is now officially one of the nations elite marksmen, and he has altruistic goals for his new proclaimed status as well as a vision for his State’s marksmanship program to “change the culture back towards focusing on marksmanship as a core competency to increase the lethality across the force as a whole.”

All Guard Service Rifle Team at 2018 Civilian Marksmanship Progam National Matches
Spc. Andrew Traciak, All Guard Service Rifle Team member from Washington Army National Guard, is presented his President’s 100 by Col. J.R. Treharne at the Civilian Marksmanship Program National Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio on Aug. 2, 2018. (photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

“My goal this year was making the President’s 100, and with that my primary goal was to be able to take this back to my State and talk to State leadership about helping other individuals get to this level,” said Traciak.

The Washington Army National Guard is currently rebuilding its marksmanship program, and Spc. Traciak hopes to influence the program to make their Soldiers more lethal on the battlefield.

“My state is trying to build a marksmanship program right now, and I’m trying to come in and assist the State with getting that program up and running,” he said. “I can take this back to my State, in a coaching position for a State training team or State marksmanship team and continue developing more coaches and shooters that could be utilized across the State to build force readiness amongst all of our other units.”

All Guard Service Rifle Team at 2018 Civilian Marksmanship Progam National Matches
Spc. Andrew Traciak, All Guard Service Rifle Team member from Washington Army National Guard, adjusts his windage knob after stage one of the National Infantry Team Match during the Civilian Marksmanship Program National Matches July 23-Aug. 5, 2018. (photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released) 

Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, a President’s Rifle Tab repeat recipient from Connecticut Army National Guard, explained what it is like being at the highest level of competition on the All Guard Service Rifle Team.

All Guard Service Rifle Team at 2018 Civilian Marksmanship Progam National Matches
Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, All Guard Service Rifle Team member from Connecticut Army National Guard, takes aim during the Civilian Marksmanship Program National Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio July 23-Aug. 5, 2018. (photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

“When you get to our level, your gains in level of ability are minimal, but we still practice and gain more knowledge of troubleshooting and analyzing other peoples problems. It’s not as much about my skills; it’s making me a better teacher and instructor of others faster and more efficiently,” said Staff Sgt. Coggshall

Through the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center, the primary goal of the competitive events program and the All Guard Shooting Teams is to develop subject matter experts who take the advanced marksmanship training knowledge gained through competitions back to their regions and states to train, mentor and coach others to improve their marksmanship skills. Through this method the National Guard can more efficiently and effectively train the most Soldiers to increase force readiness.

Spc. Traciak summed it up saying, “We’re not exactly the Peace Corps. Our job is to go out, put rounds on target, and increase the lethality of the force.”

 

Maine Guardsmen outshoot their regional competitors in marksmanship competition

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Maine Army National Guard took first place team overall, as well as overall individual first and second place during the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1 Championships held at Fort Devens, Mass. Aug. 17-19, 2018. (photo by Spc. Patrik Orcutt/Released)

~National Guard holds the MAC I Regionals
by Spc. Patrik Orcutt, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

FORT DEVENS, Massachusetts – The National Guard Marksmanship Training Center held the Marksmanship Advisory Council (MAC) region one small arms championship at Fort Devens, Massachusetts August 17-19, 2018.

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(photo by Spc. Patrik Orcutt/Released)

The training offers shooters a chance to exercise one of the most important Army skills, marksmanship. Competitors were required to engage targets from multiple positions, including sitting, standing, and prone while moving from multiple firing lines during courses of fire. Some drills required the competitors to shoot from great distances and run to their next firing line with no time to rest before targets presented themselves.

The championship also offered teams a chance to build camaraderie between themselves and opposing teams. Friendly inter-state rivalry helps the competitors get to know new and old faces while fighting for the first place slot.

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(photo by Spc. Patrik Orcutt/Released)

Honing marksmanship skills to this level doesn’t come easy and often requires hours of practice and patience. Most of theses Soldiers find time throughout the year to get together and practice their marksmanship skills in preparation for competitions like the MAC. These Soldiers then take their skills back to their units and pass it along to improve the overall lethality and effectiveness of the unit.

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(photo by Spc. Patrik Orcutt/Released)

MAC 1 SCORES

Overall Team Champion
1 Maine National Guard, scoring 2256 with 29 Xs
2 Vermont National Guard, scoring 2128 with 21 Xs
3 New Hampshire National Guard, scoring 1962 with 17 Xs

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Maine Team Alpha, Maine Army National Guard, took first place overall individual during the the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1 Championships held at Fort Devens, Mass. Aug. 17-19, 2018.

Overall Individual Champion
1 Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Holmes, Maine Army National Guard, scoring 1199 with 15 Xs
2 Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Bartman, Maine Army National Guard, scoring 1194 with 21 Xs
3 Sgt. Maxim Nickerson, Vermont Army National Guard, scoring 1186 with 10 Xs

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Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Holmes, Maine Army National Guard, took first place overall individual during the the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1 Championships held at Fort Devens, Mass. Aug. 17-19, 2018. (photo by Spc. Patrik Orcutt/Released)

MAC 3 Regional competition develops combat effective marksmen through competition

2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship
The South Carolina National Guard Team was announced the Overall Team Champions during the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship award ceremony honoring the regions best Soldiers and Airmen was held at The Volunteer Training Site, Tullahoma, Tenn. July 28, 2018. MAC III is comprised of Army and Air National Guard members from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virgin Islands. This is an annual event to promote combat marksmanship and training, and there were 48 competitors representing six of the ten states this year. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

~South Carolina National Guard wins the MAC III Regionals
by Maj. Theresa Austin, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. – National Guard Soldiers from six states gathered at the Volunteer Training Site in Tullahoma, Tenn. July 27-28, 2018 to compete in the Marksmanship Advisory Council (MAC) Region Three-Small Arms Championship.

South Carolina took first place overall, while the Kentucky team placed in second and Tennessee placed in third. Kentucky, also, claims the individual open class champion, Sgt. Dwight Bushong, and Georgia claims the individual novice class champion, Sgt. Ryan Machan, and Rifle Excellence in Combat (EIC) Champion, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Caleb Ralston.

2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship
During the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship award ceremony, the Overall Individual Open Caegory Champions were Sgt. Bushong (1st Place), Spc. Jordan (2ng Place), and Master Sgt. Garcia (3rd Place), which was held at The Volunteer Training Site, Tullahoma, Tenn. July 28, 2018.  (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

The first place team consists of Tech. Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, Air National Guard; Staff Sgt. Patrick Stuckey, Army National Guard; Staff Sgt. Matt David, Army National Guard; and Spc. John Jordan, Army National Guard; all of the South Carolina National Guard. Jordan was, also, the Pistol EIC Champion.

2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship
During the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship award ceremony, the Overall Individual Open Caegory Champions were Sgt. Machan (1st Place), Chief Warrant Officer two Wadham (2ng Place), and Capt. Peterson (3rd Place), which was held at The Volunteer Training Site, Tullahoma, Tenn. July 28, 2018. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

Each MAC Regional Competition and TAG Match holds an EIC event, for pistol and rifle that have their own Gold, Silver and Bronze Badges.

“Many people don’t realize that there are many more prestigious marksmanship badges than the three marksmanship qualification badges, and some of those are the Excellence in Combat (EIC) Badge and Distinguished Shooter,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Mike Brumer, the new Tennessee State Marksmanship Coordinator.

The top three marksmanship badges an individual can earn are Distinguished (International Shooter, Rifleman, and Pistol) according to the Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia DA PAM 670–1 chapter 20 paragraph 15.

2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship
Sgt. Dwight Bushong, with the Kentucky Army National Guard, was declared the Overall Champion-Open Classification at the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship held at the VTS located in Tullahoma, Tenn. July 28, 2018. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

“The heritage behind it gives it its level of importance and meaning, and being Distinguished is the pinnacle for a shooter,” Brumer continued.

Distinguished refers to the marksmanship skill level of a shooter, which is determined by an individuals performance over years of competition in the EIC event.

“The EIC program encourages others to become more combat effective and share their knowledge base with others back in their home units who don’t participate,” stated Brumer.

2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Wadham, with the Tennessee Army National Guard, participated in the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship held at the VTS located in Tullahoma, Tenn. July 28, 2018. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

“It’s not a shooting club, like many think,” continued Brumer referring to marksmanship competitions like the MAC regional. “It’s a developmental program to improve combat effectiveness.”

“A marksmanship event,” he expanded, “is not just a competition it’s a training event. It’s, also, a place where we find new shooters and where we kind of identify those that we seek to go back to their units to become trainers there, but also developmental shooters that we want to spend time and energy on to maybe become State representatives at the Wilson Matches or maybe Camp Perry.”

The National Guard Winston P. Wilson Matches held at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark. and the Civilian Marksmanship Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio are national level matches that are advanced competitive training events.

“Sgt. Amanda Gentry is a fulltime Army National Guard supply sergeant for the Volunteer Training Site (VTS) in Smyrna, Tenn. and is one of our newest developmental shooters,” said Brumer.

2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship
Sgt. Amanda Gentry, supply sgt. with the Volunteer Training Site (VTS) of the Tennessee Army National Guard, participated in the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship held at the VTS located in Tullahoma, Tenn. July 28, 2018. Sgt. Gentry is an up and comer in the Tenn. marksmanship community, who recently became involved in order to help improve the marksmanship skills of the Soldiers who go through the VTS when they are preparing to deploy. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

Not only is she the supply sergeant, but she helps on the many ranges they conduct throughout the year as well.

Soldiers go to the VTS before they go to their pre-mobilization stations, said Gentry. “We have a lot of Soldiers that are deploying that come through there, so I work the range a lot.”

Gentry, being a developmental shooter for Tenn. puts her advanced knowledge to good use in her home unit that not just helps them out, but, also, a multitude of Tenn. Soldiers who go through that training site before they deploy.

“I can bring this back to other Soldiers when I am working the range over there and help them out when they aren’t shooting very well. You learn a lot out here,” she said referring to participating in marksmanship events like the MAC, “that you can bring back to other Soldiers that are about to put it to use.”

2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship
Staff Sgt. Chris Langston, with the Georgia Army National Guard, and Tech. Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, with the South Carolina Air National Guard, participated in the 2018 Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Three Championship held at Tullahoma, Tenn. July 28, 2018. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

Not only is this practical for Gentry, but, also, enjoyable as a stress reliever.

“Shooting for me is a stress reliever and it’s so out of the ordinary as a supply sergeant,” she shared. “There is a lot of stress behind that and coming here, out of the office, is relaxing, because I can focus on just one thing, instead of a million things at once, learning something new.”

This stress reliever teaches self-control under pressure and helps Soldiers become more combat effective.

Brumer shared a quote about self-control and said, as the new State marksmanship coordinator, he hopes to make it the motto of the Tenn. National Guard Marksmanship Program, because this is what they aspire to.

“A good shot must necessarily be a good man since the essence of good marksmanship is self-control and self-control is the essential quality of a good man.” – President Theodore Roosevelt

For more photos from this event visit us on Flickr.

To find out more about how to participate contact the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center at 501-212-4420/4517/4520 and ng.ar.ararng.mbx.ngmtc@mail.mil or visit us on Facebook.