May 12, 2010

Virginia Guard holds marksmanship competition

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia Army National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit held the 2010 Small Arms Combat Matches at Fort Pickett April 17-18 in an effort to promote marksmanship training and competition among the Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia Guard.

Increased Individual marksmanship is paramount to the men and women of the Virginia Guard. Their proficiency with their assigned weapons results in increased individual and collective unit readiness and positively impacts retention and recruiting.

Soldiers and Airmen of the Guard seldom get many opportunities to fire their individual weapons throughout the training year. They often spend their one weekend a month training on the many other skills and tasks they need to remain tactically and professionally proficient. Events like these give them another opportunity to hone their shooting abilities.

“In a normal training year our warriors get one opportunity, sometimes two, to maintain the number one warrior task; Shoot,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Howard Halfacre, command sergeant major of the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute.

The Guardsmen competed using the M-16 and M-4 assault rifles in several events as individuals as well as on teams. The winners of the competition in each event will move on to represent Virginia in the annual Winston P. Wilson competition at Camp Robinson, Ark., later this fall.

“Marksmanship is a perishable skill that requires constant training and many rounds fired downrange. The marksmanship competition conducted each year allows many of our warriors the additional opportunity to fine tune those skills,” said Halfacre. “As always, competition brings out the best in individual and collective events and improves proficiency.”

The teams and individuals who finished in second or third place will qualify to represent the Virginia Guard by participating in the Marksmanship Advisory Council regional competition usually held in the summer at Fort Indiantown Gap, Penn.

The Virginia Marksmanship Training Unit will hold another competition in May where Soldiers and Airmen will fire combat pistols. Soldiers will compete with using the Beretta M-9 pistol and Airmen will fire the Sig Sauer M-11 pistol.

“The bottom line is that warriors love to shoot, but ultimately, competitions like these increase our combat readiness,” said Halfacre.

First place winners in the competition were:

  • Reflexive fire: Staff Sgt. Mark Kramer, 203d RED HORSE
  • Excellence in competition team: Tech Sgt. Brian Gray, Tech Sgt. John Walker and Tech Sgt. Michael Melugin, 203d RED HORSE
  • Unknown distance firing team: Tech Sgt. Brian Gray, Tech Sgt. John Walker and Tech Sgt. Michael Melugin, 203d RED HORSE
  • Rifle match: Spc. Tony Hancock, Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team
  • Slow fire: Spc. Tony Hancock
  • Excellence in competition, individual: Tech Sgt. John Walker
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