The Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge was established to provide evidence and public recognition of outstanding marksmanship abilities as demonstrated at the National Guard Championships. At the time, that was the Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championships.
In the beginning, the matches only offered rifle and pistol target matches. As the years passed, the leadership realized that to support the training environment, the matches needed to shift focus from target shooting to combat shooting. After shifting to combat shooting, the leadership realized that to truly represent combat shooting, we needed to incorporate all small arms that were used on the battlefield, not just the rifle and pistol. Eventually, the competition offered rifle, pistol, machinegun and sniper matches, which is how it stands today.
- The annual Winston P. Wilson matches have only NOT been held twice in its history since 1971. In 2005, it was canceled for Hurricane Katrina that landed immediately prior to the matches. In 2011, the matches moved from October to April to better accommodate funding challenges. This resulted in no match being held in 2011.
- Pennsylvania is home to the most Chief’s 50 recipients. It claims 55 Chief’s 50 recipients.
- Chief’s 50 recipients come from 50 of the 54 states and territories.
- The Kerin Family, from Pennsylvania, claims the most Chief’s 50 recipients in one family. Four Kerin family members have earned the Chief’s 50 badge.