Fallen sniper always remembered; The Specialist Horton Memorial Trophy

~Spouse of fallen sniper unveils memorial award during competition
by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

FORT CHAFFEE JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. – Standing on the stage of an empty theater as the last few ceremony members clear out, Jane Horton gazes down at a glowing, holographic award that softly lights up her face in the dim room. As an advocate for service members and their families, Jane has made it her life goal to give back to all who serve her and her country – a goal she feels she will never fully achieve.

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Mrs. Jane Horton, face softly lit by the glowing, holographic award, poses for a photo with the cadre from the National Guard Sniper Competition April 26, 2018 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Left to right: Sgt. Isaac Holley, Spc. Herbierto Tapia, Staff Sgt. Joseph Noe, Staff Sgt. Aaron Pierce, Sgt. Robert Ward, Mrs. Jane Horton, Master Sgt. Randy Schnell, Sgt. Jason Baethke, Sgt. 1st Class Jon Plummer, Sgt. 1st Class Justin Hitchcock) (photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe and cutline by Army Maj. Reese Austin / Released)

“One of the last things my husband asked me to do; I was an intern in congress for Senator Inhofe from Oklahoma, and [my husband] asked me to get sniper tabs authorized. And I was like ‘honey, I’m an intern,’” said Jane, Survivor Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Army. “When he was killed, Gen. Odierno, the Chief of the Army, came to his funeral in Arlington and asked me ‘What can I do for you?’ and I said, ‘You can authorize sniper tabs.’ And so that’s kind of where it started.”

Jane’s husband, Spc. Christopher Horton died in Afghanistan while defending his country on September 9, 2011 shortly after completing sniper school. Since his death, Jane has been pushing to make her husband’s last request a reality.

‘I’ve been working with the Army and I’ve been working with Gen. Milley and Sgt. Maj. Dailey to get sniper tabs authorized, but also to make sure that we take care of our snipers,” said Jane. ‘My husband wanted nothing more than to serve his country and he chose to be a sniper because he was such a good shot, and that was the best way that he could use his God-given-skills to serve and to take out the enemy, and ultimately, its why he gave his life.”

Jane began re-counting Chris’ steps in the military shortly after he died, which eventually led her to Fort Chaffee where he attended Sniper School in 2009. She called the school and spoke with one of Chris’ former instructors.

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Mrs. Jane Horton and Sgt. 1st Class Jon Plummer marvel at the Trophy after the National Guard Sniper Championship award ceremony April 26, 2018 at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center, Arkansas. (photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe and cutline by Army Maj. Reese Austin / Released)

“After Chris’ death, [Jane and I] spoke on the phone, and she wanted to come visit and retrace his steps through the military,” said Sgt. First Class Jon Plummer, Marksmanship Training Battalion NCOIC for the Marksmanship Training Center. “Since then, she’s been in contact with us three or four times a year to see if were doing okay or see if we need anything and she’ll visit probably once a year.”

 

Over the years, Jane and the school instructors have developed a relationship that has helped her connect with her husband due to his passion for shooting and his long-time goal of going through the sniper program.

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Sgt. 1st Class Justin Hitchcock, one of the sniper instructors, gazes at the trophy after the National Guard Sniper Championship award ceremony April 26, 2018 at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center, Arkansas. (photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe and cutline by Army Maj. Reese Austin / Released)

“The sniper school has been incredibly welcoming to me and incredibly kind to me and they’ve let me come up a couple times and shoot some of the rifles, get to know some of the snipers, and just create a relationship with them,” said Jane. “It’s been one of the most meaningful relationships of my life because snipers were so important to my husband, and it was such an important part of his identity. In fact, when I buried my husband at Arlington, they gave me two lines, thirteen characters each, to describe him and I put valiant warrior, fearless sniper.”

 

This year however, the members of the Marksmanship Training Center are giving something back to Chris and Jane. A memorial award was commissioned by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark. to honor Chris Horton, a loving husband, Army Sniper, and American patriot.

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The Specialist Christopher Horton Memorial, donated and made by 3D Innovations staff, was unveiled April 26, 2018 during the National Guard Sniper Competition award ceremony at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center, Arkansas. (photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe and cutline by Army Maj. Reese Austin / Released)

“[The award] is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a dream come true for me,” said Jane. “My husband was 26-years old when he gave his life and it’s been almost six and a half years, which is mind boggling for me, but there’s never been enough, and there is never enough, that I could do in this life to thank him for giving his life for me, or those that have given their lives.”

 

Jane was invited to be a guest speaker at the Winston P. Wilson and Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting National Guard Sniper Competiton matches this year, but that was all she knew before walking up on stage to help present the award to the Wisconsin National Guard Sniper Team.

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The Wisconsin Army National Guard Sniper Team members are the first recipients of the Spc. Christopher Horton Memorial Trophy. Mrs. Jane Horton presented her husband’s memorial trophy to them at the National Guard Sniper Championship award ceremony held April 26, 2018 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe and cutline by Army Maj. Reese Austin / Released)

“She knows nothing about the award. We got a picture from her. I asked her what picture is her favorite of Chris. She said ‘easy’ and she sent me a picture,” said Plummer. “It had passed through several email chains and the quality wasn’t that great. So I contacted Kellogg, one of the guys in his sniper section who made it out, and I asked him if he knew where the original was. He sent it to me within about five minutes…”

After arriving on stage, the award was unveiled to Jane, the awardees, and the audience for the first time. To Jane’s surprise the competitors, cadre, and official party all rose to their feet with a round of applause.

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After arriving on stage, the Spc. Christopher Horton Memorial Trophy was unveiled to Mrs. Jane Horton, the awardees, and the audience for the first time. To Jane’s surprise the competitors, cadre, and official party all rose to their feet with a round of applause. (photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe / Released)

“There’s never enough that I could do for any of you guys who have chosen to serve your country, fight and defend me. I’m truly grateful for them, and I’m here to help any service member with whatever I can and grateful today to know that my husband will always be remembered here at Fort Chaffee Sniper School, so I’m blown away.”

 

The memorial award will be kept at the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center at Robinson Maneuver Training Center and designated to the top precision engagement team, which is the team with the highest aggregate score in the precision engagement matches, each year during the WPW and AFSAM Sniper Championship matches in honor of Spc. Christopher Horton.

The WPW match included 13 National Guard teams from across the country. The Guard members trained through competition for three awards, including precision engagement, field craft, and overall sniper team, during the competition. The AFSAM teams, including teams from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Poland, U.S. interservice and the National Guard All Guard Sniper Team, competed for the same awards in the international category. The WPW and AFSAM matches were held April 21-26, 2018 at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center, Arkansas.

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Mrs. Jane Horton speaks to the competitors at the National Guard Sniper Championship banquet April 26, 2018 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe and cutline by Army Maj. Reese Austin / Released)

 

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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.

National Guard Marksmen focus on the front sight in Pennsylvania

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180826-Z-BF582-1052 – With a long history of performing very well in competition, the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guards took home the titles of first and second place combined arms team aggregate champions, as well as, the first, second and third place combat pistol individual aggregate champions with Capt. James Kistler, Army National Guard, in first place. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

~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.

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180825-Z-BF582-0536 – Lt. Col. Charles Reinhold with the Virginia Army National Guard takes off ahead of the pack in the Patton Match during the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Two Championships at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania August 23-26, 2018. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

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.”

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180826-Z-BF582-0470 – A U.S. Army National Guard Soldier competes in the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Two Championships at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania August 23-26, 2018. Leveling out the playing field for this year’s MAC 2 Matches was the use of the M14 service rifle that is usually only used by specially trained squad designated marksmen. Instead of a shotgun, the M14 was used during the Bianchi Battle (3-gun match), which many Soldiers enjoyed. (photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

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.”

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180825-Z-BF582-0551 – Master Sgt. Eric Moskel with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard fires the pistol for a team match during Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Two Championships at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania August 23-26, 2018. (photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

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.

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180825-Z-BF582-0578 – U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers use binoculars to inspect the accuracy of their round impacts on the targets in between stages of a pistol match during the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region Two Championships at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania August 23-26, 2018. (Photo by Maj. Theresa Austin/Released)

“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.

~~Results~~

Combined Arms Team Aggregate Champions:

  1. 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)
  1. 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)
  1. 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:

  1. Zachary Wilson, Virginia Army National Guard; score 563-10X
  2. Staff Sgt. Basil Woodall, Delaware Army National Guard; score 554-9X
  3. Albert Whitlock, Delaware Army National Guard; score 538-4X

Combat Rifle individual Aggregate Champion:

  1. Staff Sgt. Basil Woodall, Delaware Army National Guard; score 406-6X
  2. Zachary Wilson, Virginia Army National Guard; score 402-4X
  3. 1st Class Justin Clymer, Delaware Army National Guard; score 396-7X

Combat Pistol individual Aggregate Champion:

  1. James Kistler, Pennsylvania Army National Guard; score 175-11X
  2. 1st Class Scott Sheroky, Pennsylvania Army National Guard; score 174-9X
  3. Senior Airman Robert Lydic, Pennsylvania Air National Guard; score 163-4X

National Guard displays lethal skills during United Kingdom Marksmanship Competition

The 2018 Army Reserve Operational Shooting Competition prize giving ceremony
The All Guard International Combat Team pose for a photo with the Fortuna Trophy at the end of the Army Reserve Operational Shooting Competition Prize Giving Ceremony. The team achieved their goal winning this trophy, which is a collective high score of four events and is a long standing competition between the British Reserve and the U.S. National Guard. (LEFT to RIGHT: FRONT- Maj. David Stapp, Sgt. Maxium Nickerson, Sgt. Tyler Goldade, Staff Sgt. Michael Richey. BACK- Col. Marty Curtright, Spc. Jeremy McCombs, Master Sgt. Greg Neiderhiser, Staff Sgt. Brandon Hornung, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan, Capt. Robert Lee, 1st Lt. Garrett Miller.)

Click here for photos from the Matches and Ceremony.

~ 2018 United Kingdom Defence Operational Shooting Competition
by Maj. Theresa Austin, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

NATIONAL SHOOTING CENTRE, BISLEY CAMP, England –The sun beats down on two machine gunners, from Delta and Charlie Team, as they lay prone on the grass providing suppressive fire at enemy targets 600 meters away, while their riflemen sprint forward on line with them completing their eight-man section.

As Charlie team sees the enemy appear, they leap forward into a sprint, moving up and down hills and jumping over trenches to take a prone firing position just 100 meters forward. As soon as they open fire on the enemy, Delta team takes off in a dead sprint maneuvering these same obstacles to move online with them.

Sweat pours as each team member, wearing at least 22 pounds of gear and body armor not including their helmet, weapon and ammunition, continues this explosive bounding forward maneuvering these earthen obstacles until they are 300 meters from the enemy, and within the range of the average Soldier’s marksmanship ability. They continue forward 200 meters, riflemen taking a kneeling firing position and machine gunners prone, as they take out the remainder of the enemy targets with a fierce lethality.

Reminiscent of combat environments, this was just one of over 24 different operational “combat style” shooting matches conducted at the 2018 United Kingdom Defence Operational Shooting Competitions (DefOSC) held June 17-26, 2018 at Bisley Camp and the Army Training Centre Pirbright, Woking, England.

The 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition
1st Lt. Garrett Miller, All Guard International Combat Team member from Pennsylvania Army National Guard, engages his final targets 100 meters away after having just ran five 100 meter sprints  while engaging targets every 100-200 meters along the way. This was one of several events in the 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition that was held jointly at Bisley Camp and the Army Reserve Training Centre Pirbright, England during June 12-26, 2018.

During the Army Reserve Operational Shooting Competition portion of DefOSC, the National Guard All Guard International Combat Team displayed their lethal skills winning first place in five matches and placing top three in 11 of the 13 matches.

“This competition was challenging and more realistic in regards to combat type shooting than other matches we shoot,” said All Guard Team Member Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, with the Missouri National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters.

“All the events were like combat,” said All Guard Team Member 1st Lt. Garrett Miller, with the 2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment Penn. Army National Guard. “Each event was custom tailored to apply competitive pressure to the participants in different ways.”

The 2018
Capt. Robert Lee (center) and Sgt. Brandon Hornung (right), All Guard International Combat Team members, compete in the 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition that was held jointly at Bisley Camp and the Army Reserve Training Centre Pirbright, England during June 12-26, 2018. During this event, the camaraderie that is fostered between the Soldiers of United Kingdom and United States is clearly evident from Capt. Lee’s display of the United Kingdom Flag on his helmet during these matches. Patch swapping is a common practice among competitors.

Being lethal in combat is not an easy task. One of most challenging parts to this competition, similar to combat, was the speed required to move into position and engage the targets.

“The competitors are challenged to sprint 100 meters forward, charge their rifle, obtain a steady position and fire as many rounds as possible at a 100 meter target in just 25 seconds, then remain in position and fire the rest of the remaining rounds of a 20 round magazine in 35 seconds at a 200 meter and 300 meter target. Then from there the match moves right into three more phases without any reprieve,” said Miller as he described the Attack and Reorganize Assessment.

Describing the Urban Contact Assessment event, Richey said “100-300 meter targets would expose themselves for only three or four seconds, during which time we had to go from the standing position to the kneeling position and engage the target.”

As if the speed of movement and target engagement was not enough of a challenge, and ease of movement was further impacted by the pounds of gear and body armor they were required to wear, which is a similar requirement for combat.

The 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition
Spc. Jeremy McCombs, All Guard International Combat Team member from Colorado Army National Guard, takes cover behind a “hasty firing position” and engages rapidly moving targets 100 meters down range during the 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition that was held jointly at Bisley Camp and the Army Reserve Training Centre Pirbright, England during June 12-26, 2018.

“It was difficult to balance the thrill of charging forward and diving into position, with the need to calmly place shots center mass in each target before the time expired,” said Miller, “oh, and all while wearing body armor, plates, and ten kilograms (22 pounds) of kit.”

“The requirement to wear body armor and gear during the match, greatly increased fatigue throughout the competition and also heart rate during the course of fire,” added Richey.

The 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition
Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, All Guard International Combat Team member from Missouri Army National Guard, fires his M16 Rifle after running 100 meters to his firing point during the 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition that was held jointly at Bisley Camp and the Army Reserve Training Centre Pirbright, England during June 12-26, 2018. Richey was the winner of the Urban Contact Assessment Match, which tests the Soldiers ability to effectively engage targets with the complication of speed and accuracy using the pistol and rifle.

While the individual aspects of the competition were challenging and combat oriented, the team matches seemed to be most like combat.

“The team matches were most like combat situations,” said Michael Richey, Missouri National Guard. “You had to shoot, move and communicate as a team, which is what you’ll be doing in combat.”

The 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition
Staff Sgt. Brandon Hornung, All Guard International Combat Team member from Illinois Army National Guard, quickly moves from engaging targets in the kneeling position to establish a good firing position in the foxhole during a match in the 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition that was held jointly at Bisley Camp and the Army Reserve Training Centre Pirbright, England during June 12-26, 2018.

Representing the U.S. National Guard All Guard International Combat Team were 10 members and two team managers who included:

  • Maj. David Stapp, team OIC, Arkansas National Guard
  • Master Sgt. Greg Neiderhiser, team NCOIC, Pennsylvania National Guard
  • Capt. Robert Lee, team member, Texas National Guard
  • 1st Lt. Garrett Miller, team member, Pennsylvania National Guard
  • Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Catlin, team member, Colorado National Guard
  • Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan, team member, Iowa National Guard
  • Sgt. 1st Class David Keenom, team member, Tennessee National Guard
  • Staff Sgt. Brandon Hornung, team member, Illinois National Guard
  • Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, team member, Missouri National Guard
  • Sgt. Tyler Goldade, team member, North Dakota National Guard
  • Sgt. Maxium Nickerson, team member, Vermont National Guard
  • Spc. Jeremy McCombs, team member, Colorado National Guard
The 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competiton
Left to Right: FRONT- Master Sgt. Greg Neiderhiser, Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, Spc. Jeremy McCombs, Capt. Robert Lee, Sgt. Maxium Nickerson, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Catlin. BACK: Maj. David Stapp, Sgt. 1st Class David Keenom, Staff Sgt. Brandon Hornung, Sgt. Tyler Goldade, 1st Lt. Garrett Miller, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan, Col. Marty Curtright, Staff Sgt. James Carr.

All Guard Team came here with the main goal of winning the Fortuna Trophy, and pushing themselves to their limits, they did that and more.

“The competition for the Fortuna is between the United States National Guard and the British Army Reserve,” said Neiderhiser. “It consists of four matches: the Advance to Contact, Defence Assessment, Pistol Close Quarter Battle, and Urban Contact Assessment-Rifle.”

In addition to the Fortuna Trophy, several other awards were won by the team and individual members:

  • Fire Team Combat Snap Shooting Assessment – Team
  • Fortuna Cup (highest individual aggregate on the Fortuna winning team) – Miller
  • Advance to Contact (Contributes to Fortuna Trophy)- Miller
  • Pistol Close Quarter Combat (Contributes to Fortuna Trophy) – Deugan
  • Urban Contact Assessment (Contributes to Fortuna Trophy) – Richey
  • Fleeting Encounter – McCombs
The 2018 Army Reserve Operational Shooting Competition prize giving ceremony
The National Guard All Guard International Combat Team won the Best International Team Fortuna Trophy as well as five individual trophies during the 2018 Army Reserve Operational Shooting Competition at Bisley Ranges, Pirbright, England June 24, 2018. Awards from LEFT to RIGHT and winner name: Fortuna Cup (highest individual aggregate on the Fortuna winning team) – 1st Lt. Miller, Pistol Close Quarter Combat (Contributes to Fortuna Trophy) – Sgt. 1st Class Deugan, Fire Team Combat Snap Shooting Assessment – Team award, Advance to Contact (Contributes to Fortuna Trophy)- 1st Lt. Miller, Urban Contact Assessment (Contributes to Fortuna Trophy) – Staff Sgt. Richey (Not shown: Fleeting Encounter – Spc. McCombs)

“Winning matches that utilize rifle and pistol show how well-rounded of a shooter you are,” said Richey. “It felt good to win a combined rifle and pistol match.”

“Winning the Fortuna Cup,” said Miller, “is what I consider the highest honor I could possibly achieve at any operational shooting competition, because of the other names that are inscribed on it.”

He continued, “Every year, the trophy is engraved with the winner’s name. There are two names in particular that have great relevance to me, 1st Sgt. Greg Neiderhiser, and Capt. J.R. Treharne. Now Master Sgt. Greg Neiderhiser and Col. J.R. Treharne, have both served as influential coaches and professional mentors to me since I was a young Cadet. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today as a competitor and a Soldier if it wasn’t for their mentorship. Knowing that my name will be forever displayed next to theirs on that trophy pays special tribute not just to my achievement, but their skill and passion as coaches and professionals.”

The All Guard Team not only accomplished their goal, winning the Fortuna and many other honors, but the most important thing they gained was better combat oriented marksmanship skills and knowledge to bring back to the U.S.

The 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition
Capt. Robert Lee, All Guard International Combat Team member from Texas Army National Guard, engages targets from various shooting positions seen here: the log, the metal arch, the rock pit and the broken wall during on one of the matches in the 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition that was held jointly at Bisley Camp and the Army Reserve Training Centre Pirbright, England during June 12-26, 2018.

“This competition helps us validate our training methods and strategies,” said Miller.

“Soldiers from all ranks, MOS’s, status and levels, attend and try their best. This multi-echelon exposure allows everyone to progress much faster than they normally would with just isolated training back at their home unit. Here they can pick and choose tactics and techniques they observe from Soldiers standing right next to them on the firing line and bring those back to their home unit. “

“This competition was challenging and more realistic in regards to combat type shooting than other matches we shoot,” said Richey. “Our team participating in this competition enables us to bring that challenging and realistic style of shooing back to our respective states.”

2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition
Sgt. Maxium Nickerson, All Guard International Combat Team member from Vermont Army National Guard, reviews his targets and scorecard with the United Kingdom Soldier after the Urban Contact Assessment Matchin the 2018 UK Defence Operational Shooting Competition that was held jointly at Bisley Camp and the Army Reserve Training Centre Pirbright, England during June 12-26, 2018. This specific match required the Soldier to fire with rifle while advancing and shooting from the standing and squatting positions and then switch to the pistol while continuing to advance towards the target.

These competitions are training multipliers that need more attention and participation.

“This is a powerful tool that goes under-appreciated because some units and naive commanders call these small competitions “shooting clubs” and restrict attendance, because they don’t see the real training and exposure they provide,” said Miller. “Sharing these ideas through open competitions creates positive trends in developing marksmanship that spreads ten fold faster than it would just trickling down through a traditional training progression.”

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.

AFSAM 2018 Results-training with allies

~ 27th AFSAM Small Arms Championship Results

By Spc. Patrik Orcutt, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. —The 27th Armed Forces Skills at Arms Meeting (AFSAM) a multi-national inter-service small arms championship was held from April 29 – May 4, 2018.

The 2018 matches boasted more then 360 competitors with teams from the National Guard, United Kingdom, Canada and Italy. Competitors engaged their targets with various weapon systems including the M9, G17 and P226 pistols, M16, M4, SA80 and C7A2 rifles and M500 Shotguns.  Each four-man team was evaluated on field firing, advanced marksmanship and target engagement. All of the matches were designed to focus on the fundamentals of marksmanship while implementing the stress and physical activity of combat between service members.

Established in 1991, the Armed Forces Skills at Arms Meeting (AFSAM) is a multinational competition that was created to promote marksmanship training and competition between United States military forces and allied nations.

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Military members from the United States, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom compete for the 47th Winston P. Wilson (WPW) and 27th Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meet (AFSAM) at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark, 2018. The annual events, hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC), offer Servicemembers from the National Guard and international community an opportunity to test marksmanship skills in a battle-focused environment.

The international marksmanship exchange program offers shooters from the U. S. and allied nations an opportunity to test marksmanship skills and weapons systems in battle-focused training events. This meeting affords opportunities for cross training on the host nation’s weapons, systems, techniques, tactics, and procedures.

“Participation in these events can provide opportunities to expose traditional Guardsmen to advanced tactics, techniques and procedures used by allied foreign military forces and active duty units,” said Maj. David Stapp, Chief of Operations for the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center, which hosts the events.

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Military members from the United States, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom compete for the 47th Winston P. Wilson (WPW) and 27th Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meet (AFSAM) at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark, 2018. The annual events, hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC), offer Servicemembers from the National Guard and international community an opportunity to test marksmanship skills in a battle-focused environment.

The competition is the perfect forum to allow information sharing between skilled marksmen from multiple countries. “As competitive as they are, the matches aren’t solely about defining who is the best,” said Lt. Col. Todd C. Stuff, NGMTC Administrative Officer. “Ultimately, the focus is on training…. When the best marksmen from around the globe come together,” Stuff continued, “they bring with them valuable experience and insight which they enthusiastically share with their fellow warriors. The shooters then take what they learn back to their units and pass along their new skills.”

The shared information helps improve all the participants’ home country’s marksmanship programs.  “We are happy to compete, Its a wonderful experience for us, said Alessandro De Santis an Italian Army Marshal with the Folgore Brigade. “Every job has its special tools, you need to practice with them to be effective, our tools are weapons.”

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For many soldiers, the competition presents a special opportunity to spend more time with their weapon system.“This is the most range time we get all year,” said Sgt. Dustin Fox, a 214th MP with the Alabama Alpha team.

“Marksmanship first” is more then just a motto for many of these competitors. “Marksmanship should be your first soldier skill, if you can’t shoot and kill the enemy, what good are you?,”  said Warrant Officer 3 Kim Ralston, a coach for the Mississippi teams.

Since 1991, the AFSAM competition has been bringing together some of the best shooters the world’s armies have to offer. AFSAM continues to bring America and its NATO allies closer together one shot at a time.

180503-Z-JY390-464RESULTS:

Grand Aggregate Individual

Champion: Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score of 1778 with 24x’s

Overall 2nd place: Sgt. Brandon Swanson, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score of 1761 with 21x’s

Overall 3rd place: 1st Sgt. James Phelps, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score 1743 with 20x’s

 

Individual Rifle

Champion: Master Sgt. Nathan Watters, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score of 970 with 9x’s

2nd  place: Sgt. Brandon Swanson, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score of 969 with 11x’s

3rd place: Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score of 968 12x’s

 

Individual Pistol

Champion: Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score of 810 with 13 x’s

2nd place: Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Bravo, combined score of 798 with 11 x’s

3rd place: 1st Sgt. James Phelps, U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha, combined score of 798 with 10 x’s

WPW, AFSAM Small Arms enter day two of competition
2018 International Team Champions “Match 380” – U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha with a combined score of 1708 (Left to Right: Sgt. Brandon Swanson, Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, Master Sgt. Nathan Watters, 1st Sgt. James Phelps, Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy)

International Team Champions “Match 380

Champion: U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha (Sgt. Brandon Swanson, 1st Sgt. James Phelps, Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, Master Sgt. Nathan Watters) combined score of 1708

2nd place: U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Charlie (Spc. Jeremy McCombs, Sgt. Maxim Nickerson, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Catlin, Capt. Robert Lee) combined score of 1657

3rd place: U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Bravo (Staff Sgt. Brandon Hornung, 1st Lt. Garrett Miller, Chief Master Sgt. Edward Altmeyer, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan) combined score of 1636

 

Overall Team Rifle “Match 350”

Champion: U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha (Sgt. Brandon Swanson, 1st Sgt. James Phelps, Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, Staff Sgt. Brandon Hornung) combined score of 2502

2nd place:U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Bravo (Spc. Jeremy McCombs, 1st Lt. Garrett Miller, Capt. Robert Lee, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan) combined score of 2409

3rd place: Canadian Red (Warrant Officer Luke Foster, Cpl. Michael Pelley, Cpl. James Cameron, Pvt. Evan Trask) combined score of 2391

 

Overall Team Pistol “Match 250”

Champion: U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Alpha (Sgt. Brandon Swanson, 1st Sgt. James Phelps, Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, Staff Sgt. Brandon Hornung) combined score of 3227

2nd place: U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Bravo (Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan, Spc. Jeremy McCombs, 1st Lt. Garrett Miller, Capt. Robert Lee) combined score of 2933  

3rd place: U.S. National Guard All Guard Team Charlie (Sgt. 1st Class David Keenom, Sgt. Maxim Nickerson, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Catlin, Sgt. Tyler Goldade) combined score of 2731

 

For the full results, and more information about AFSAM and the NGMTC visit weebly.

Take a look at the video link below to view some of the training conducted at this year’s AFSAM Championships. Also, for more information about getting involved, contact 501-212-4520 or visit us on the web at https://ngmtc.wordpress.com.

2018 AFSAM in Review Video

Sweeping victories for Missouri and South Dakota at the 2018 Winston P. Wilson Small Arms Championship

~Missouri National Guard sweeps the Winston P. Wilson overall team awards
by Maj. Theresa Austin, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. – The Missouri Army National Guard Team and Spc. Thomas Carpenter with the South Dakota Army National Guard swept during the 2018 Winston P. Wilson Small Arms Championship Award Ceremony hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center in Sherwood, Ark. May 3, 2018.

Missouri took home all three overall team awards and two overall individual awards, as well as a plethora of individual and team match awards. The overall team champion awards were for Overall Aggregate, Pistol and Rifle. The overall individual awards were Overall Aggregate and Pistol.

Missouri wasn’t the only one sweeping. There is a new competitive shooter working his way up, Spc. Thomas Carpenter with the South Dakota Army National Guard. He took all three Overall Individual Novice awards, the Overall Aggregate, Pistol and Rifle, as well as earned his Chief’s 50 Badge. There were 14 other new recipients of the Chief’s 50 Badge and the other 35 are multiple recipients of the Chief’s 50 Badge.

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Spc. Thomas Carpenter with the South Dakota Army National Guard was announced the Overall Individual Aggregate Novice Champion, Overall Individual Rifle Aggregate Novice Champion and Overall Individual Pistol Aggregate Novice Champion during the 47th Annual Winston P. Wilson Small Arms Championship May 3, 2018. Eighty-two National Guard teams from 42 states participated in the WPW at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark. The annual events, hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC), offer Servicemembers from the National Guard an opportunity to test marksmanship skills in a battle-focused environment.

 

The Chief’s 50 Badge far surpasses the Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badges, and is a difficult award to earn since previous recipients are included in top 50. It is awarded on behalf of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and is a permanent National Guard Marksmanship Badge that can be worn on the duty and dress service uniforms. The Chief’s 50 is modeled after the President’s 100 Marksmanship Tab award and the Governor’s Twenty is modeled after the Chief’s 50.

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The Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Joseph Lengyel fired the first shot with the service pistol that belonged to Maj. Gen. Winston P. Wilson at the 47th Annual Winston P. Wilson Small Arms Championship, and declared the matches open on April 29, 2018 at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark.

For nearly half of a century, the WPW matches have shown that the National Guard is a formidable force when it comes to deadly accurate marksmanship. Most of the top competitors have attended at least one of the courses offered at NGMTC, and some of those marksmen are members of the prestigious President’s 100, which is made up of the top 100 shooters in the country and is open to military personnel and civilians.

“As competitive as they are, the matches aren’t solely about defining who is the best,” said Lt. Col. Todd C. Stuff, NGMTC Administrative Officer. “Ultimately, the focus is on training.”

20180429-Z-JY390-196.jpgThe 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.

For many soldiers, this one of the few times they get to fire their weapons each year. “This is the most range time we get all year,” said Sgt. Dustin Fox, a 214th MP with the Alabama National Guard.

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 on their own time. These Soldiers then take their skills learned through these competitions back to their units and pass it along to improve the overall lethality and effectiveness of the unit.


WPW Small Arms Championship Team Results

Overall State Team Champion
1 Missouri (Alpha) National Guard
2 Texas (Alpha) National Guard
3 Illinois (Alpha) National Guard

Overall Rifle Team Champion
1 Missouri (Alpha) National Guard, scoring 2455
2 Illinois (Alpha) National Guard, scoring 2363
3 Missouri (Bravo) National Guard, scoring 2269

Overall Pistol Team Champion
1 Missouri (Alpha) National Guard, scoring 3134
2 Texas (Alpha) National Guard, scoring 2775
3 South Carolina (Alpha) National Guard, scoring 2723

WPW Small Arms Championship Individual Results

Overall Individual Champion-Open
1 Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, Missouri Army National Guard, scoring 1761 with 20 Xs & 27 Vs
2 1st Sgt. James Phelps, Missouri Army National Guard, scoring 1753 with 22 Xs & 21 Vs
3 Sgt. Brandon Swanson, Wisconsin Army National Guard, scoring 1752 with 19 Xs & 19 Vs

Overall Individual Champion-Novice
1 Spc. Thomas Carpenter, South Dakota Army National Guard, scoring 1575 with 18 Xs & 18 Vs
2 Sgt. Dwight Bushong, Kentucky Army National Guard, scoring 1447 with 15 Xs & 9 Vs
3 Sgt. David Anderson, California Army National Guard, scoring 1440 with 16 Xs & 6 Vs

Overall Rifle Individual Champion-Open
1 Sgt. Brandon Swanson, Wisconsin Army National Guard, scoring 960 with 9 Xs & 19 Vs
2 Master Sgt. Nathan Watters, Arkansas Air National Guard, scoring 959 with 12 Xs & 21 Vs
3 1st Sgt. James Phelps, Missouri Army National Guard, scoring 955 with 12 Xs & 21 Vs

Overall Rifle Individual Champion-Novice
1 Spc. Thomas Carpenter, South Dakota Army National Guard, scoring 854 with 7 Xs & 18 Vs
2 Staff Sgt. Morgan Davidson, Utah Army National Guard, scoring 817 with 5 Xs & 12 Vs
3 Sgt. Zachary Walker, Missouri Army National Guard, scoring 803 with 10 Xs & 11 Vs

Overall Pistol Individual Champion-Open
1 Staff Sgt. Michael Richey, Missouri Army National Guard, scoring 810 with 12 Xs
2 Sgt. 1st Class Paul Deugan, Iowa Army National Guard, scoring 798 with 13 Xs
3 1st Sgt. James Phelps, Missouri Army National Guard, scoring 798 with 10 Xs

Overall Pistol Individual Champion-Rifle
1 Spc. Thomas Carpenter, South Dakota Army National Guard, scoring 721 with 11 Xs
2 Maj. Aaron Combs, Ohio Army National Guard, scoring 692 with 13 Xs
3 Spc. John Jordan, South Carolina Army National Guard, scoring 684 with 8 Xs

WPW Small Arms Championship Chief’s 50 Badge Recipients

Sgt. 1st Class John Paul Cholak, Texas Army National Guard, Badge # CR-325
Sgt. Alexandra Wilson, Virginia Army National Guard, Badge # CP-222
Staff Sgt. David Ball, Missouri Army National Guard, Badge # CP-223
Staff Sgt. Justin Oddy, Vermont Air National Guard, Badge # CP-224
Staff Sgt. Patrick Stuckey, South Carolina Army National Guard, Badge # CP-225
Master Sgt. Kirk Holmer, Utah Army National Guard, Badge # CP-226
Staff Sgt. Jerry Dement, Missouri Army National Guard, Badge # CP-227
Sgt. 1st Class David Paquette, Virginia Army National Guard, Badge # CP-228
Spc. Thomas Carpenter, South Dakota Army National Guard, Badge # CP-229

2018 WINSTON P. WILSON MACHINE GUN COMPETITION SHOOTS FOR NATIONAL GUARD EXPERTISE

Winston P. Wilson Championship kicks off
Thirty-two National Guard members representing 11 states are participating in the 2018 Machine Gun Winston P. Wilson Championship. The match consists of 13 courses of fire and three weapons systems. The Winston P. Wilson Championship is a national level competitive marksmanship combat match conducted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center. It is an annual event to promote combat marksmanship and training. The Winston P. Wilson Championship consist of the small arms, sniper, and machine gun. In September 1971, the MTU established the first ever Winston P. Wilson matches at Camp Robinson, Arkansas as the National Guard’s premier competitive event.

Story by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

Sunday, April 22, 2018

ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. – Thirty-two National Guard soldiers representing 11 states competed in the 47th Annual Winston P. Wilson (WPW) Machine Gun Championship hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC) at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark. from April 15-21.

The Machine Gun Championship is one of several events included in the Winston P. Wilson Championship, a prestigious marksmanship competition that tests the skills of some of the finest military marksmen in the world.

Michigan National Guard won the title of overall team champions and Chiefs 50, taking home a combined 29 awards between two, two-man teams and proving their mettle for the second year in a row. Michigan takes marksmanship seriously and provides their teams training prior to the matches, but when facing the top marksmen from around the nation, nothing is to be expected.

“This is my second time winning this. We came down last year and had absolutely no idea what we were doing or what we were in for,” said Sgt. David Dohnal with Company D, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment and winner of the Top Machine Gunner award. “We came down here and we did a whole lot better than I thought we were going to do. I actually had no idea that I was going to win until the awards ceremony.”

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Michigan National Guard Soldiers Cpl. Nolan Davis, Sgt. David Dohnal, Sgt. Nicholas Peters, and Sgt. Jared Parham take home a combined total of 29 awards during the 2018 Winstone P. Wilson Machine Gun Championship at the 2018 Marksmanship Training Center, Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark. Thirty-two National Guard members representing 11 states participated in the matches that consist of 13 courses of fire on three weapons systems over five long days (Photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe, released).

The competitions are conducted under the directive of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to help improve the effectiveness of National Guard Soldiers. Competitions like these help inspire Soldiers to advance their skills in an experience-rich environment that is both challenging and enjoyable.

“What we’re trying to accomplish with the match is to develop an improved standard of marksmanship amongst National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, and to allow them to compete with each other and learn from each other,” said Air Force Capt. Barry Owens, Air National Guard Program Manager for the Marksmanship Training Center. “Because everybody has experience that they can share when they come here and everyone picks up some new ideas and training value.”

The collection of skills available at the competition ensures that everyone gains important weapons skills to take back to their units, whether they’re new or experienced. Every year the Marksmanship Training Center works to improve their matches and the advanced training that they can offer Soldiers and Airmen.

“I think they stepped it up this year … it was a little bit more competitive this year than it was last year,” said Dohnal. “I’ve really enjoyed myself. There was no hesitation to come back.”

Newcomers and younger Soldiers are encouraged to attend the matches in order to help build knowledge and expertise that can be disseminated throughout the National Guard. The Marksmanship Training Center offers a free-flow of professional knowledge comprised of years of experience between leadership and cadre alike.

“The vast majority of [cadre] are SAW-E qualified. They went to Small Arms Weapons Expert course, so they know quite a bit and they can teach you a lot,” said Spc. Aaron Newton, a Combat Engineer with Company A, 239th Brigade Engineer Battalion. “Especially 1st Sgt. Marchand, Master Sgt. Lindsey, and Maj. Stapp. All of them are very knowledgeable and can teach you a lot as long as you’re willing to listen.”

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Thirty-two National Guard soldiers representing 11 states competed in the 47th Annual Winston P. Wilson (WPW) Machine Gun Championship hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC) at Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark. from April 15-21. The Machine Gun Championship is one of three events that make up the Winston P. Wilson Championship matches, a prestigious marksmanship competition that tests the skills of some of the finest military marksmen in the world. The machine gun competition lasts five days and soldiers must complete 13 courses of fire with three weapons systems while expending more than 600 rounds of ammunition (Photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe, released).

Many of the competitors and cadre look forward to next year’s Machine Gun Championship and add to the wealth of knowledge that the National Guard has to offer – and perhaps send a few more rounds down range.

“Come out here. Have fun,” said Dohnal. “You’re getting paid to shoot machine guns. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

For photographs visit: Day 1   Day 2   Day 3   Day 4   Ceremony

For Videos visit: Day 1   Day 2   Day 3   Day 4   Ceremony   News Story   Hooah Video

Results:

WPW Machine Gun Match Overall Team

Champions: Sgt. David Dohnal and Cpl. Nolan Davis, Michigan National Guard, Team Alpha

Overall 2nd place: Staff Sgt. Noah Matthews and Sgt. Nathan Forrest, Alabama National Guard, Team Alpha

Overall 3rd place: Staff Sgt. Thomas Davis and Cpl. Michael Parris, Colorado National Guard, Team Alpha

WPW Machine Gun Match Top Machine Gunner

Champion: Sgt. David Dohnal, Michigan National Guard Team Alpha

2nd place: Sgt. Nicholas Peters, Michigan National Guard, Team Bravo

3rd place: Sgt. Maximil Archambault, Vermont National Guard, Team Alpha

WPW Machine Gun Match Top Assistant Gunner

Champion: Sgt. Jared Parahm, Michigan National Guard, Team Bravo

2nd place: Cpl. Nolan Davis, Michigan National Guard, Team Alpha

3rd place: Staff Sgt. Kyle McRae, Vermont National Guard, Team Bravo

 

 

2018 WPW participant update

20180412 WPW Participation 2018 #5

 

Currently there are only eight states that have not said they are attending this year out of the 54 States and Territories.

Periodically this map will be updated to reflect the current commitments to participate in this year’s 2018 Winston P. Wilson Small Arms Championships. So check back here.

For more info on the matches click here.

 

2018 WPW: Half way to goal

20180321 WPW Participation 2018 #3by Theresa Austin, Maj. National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. – Last year, 53 states and territories confirmed to participate in the 47th Annual Winston P. Wilson (WPW) National Championships prior to moving the matches due to the possibility of a government shutdown, and we are now half way to the goal of all participating this year.

As of Mar. 22, 2018, the National Guard is half way towards the goal with 30 states and territories confirmed participation out of all 54. Not only do we host the national matches, but also concurrently, a multi-national competition drawing in competitors from across the globe.

WPW is a training opportunity, hosted by the NGMTC each year, which is held concurrently with NGB’s multi-national competition the Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting (AFSAM). AFSAM currently has Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, and Poland competing as well as other military components such as the U.S. Army Reserve, and U.S. Army 7th Infantry Division.

Change your state from red to green by contacting us. All you need is a four-man team, which NGMTC will pay to attend.

The intent behind these competitions is learning to be a better marksmen, and with the additional focus of WPW being that these competitors take this knowledge and share it with others in their home units. Every competition is a training opportunity, with the ultimate goal of increasing weapons familiarization and skill for increased battlefield survivability and combat readiness.

 

WPW: You play, America wins

NGMTC WPW Participation 2018
by Kathrine Grandori, Sgt. National Guard Marksmanship Training Center

ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. – The Winston P. Wilson National Championships at the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center will begin in April 2018. Several states have already submitted their letters of intent (LOI), as of March 3, 2018, and the goal is to have all 50 states and territories participate.

Many may think that this competition is only valuable as a “play to win,” but when it comes to marksmanship in the National Guard, we must “train to win.” Every competition is an opportunity to increase readiness and learn new skills. Marksmen always learn from other participants and improve their skills. That knowledge will return to their home states and fellow service members.

The NGMTC will be tracking confirmations to attend on this map. Be proactive with your marksmanship program and help NGMTC achieve the goal of participation across all 50 states and territories in 2018. Contact your state marksmanship training coordinator (SMC) or marksmanship regional coordinator (MAC) to get involved.

Click here for more information on 2018 WPW Sniper, Machine gun, and small arms, as well as AFSAM and CNGB.