Soldiers compete for top state honors in pistol marksmanship

Nearly 30 Soldiers from seven different Virginia National Guard units competed in the State Pistol Match at Fort Pickett May 28 to 30. (Contributed Photo)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Nearly 30 Soldiers from seven different Virginia National Guard units competed in the State Pistol Match at Fort Pickett May 18 to 20. Top honors were handed out in individual and team classes. The competition was hosted by the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute and the State Marksmanship Training Unit.

Sgt. Tony Hancock from Company D, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team took first place in the “Open Class,” and Spc. Sean Kennedy of the 266th Military Police Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group took first place in the “Novice Class.”

“Open Class” shooters have either shot in this same match before or in a higher match such as at the regional or national levels and “Novice Class” shooters are shooters new to the sport or new to military competitions.

Soldiers from the 266th MP Company’s “Team Punisher” took first place in the team competition. Team members were Sgt. 1st Class David Hunt, Spc. Bradley Cooper, Pfc. James Darnell and Staff Sgt. Bohdan Pikas.

Sgt. 1st Class Owen Elliott from 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, took second place in the “Open Class” with Sgt. 1st Class Sammy Jones, also from 3rd Battalion, taking third place.

Staff Sgt. Earnest Carila, also from 3rd Battalion, took second place in the “Novice Class,” and Spc. William Kelley from Company A, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team, took third.

“Team Progression” with Jones, Elliot, Carilla and Staff Sgt. Shawn Lindsay took second place in the team competition, and “Team Shocker” with Hancock, Kennedy, Spc. Benny Clary and Sgt. Ronnie Booth took third.

Overall there were seven different matches, and three were team events.

Each shooter was challenged individually by first shooting the “Combat Pistol Qualification Course” which ranges as far out as 31 meters.  During this course of fire the Soldier has to engage single and multiple targets while moving and in static positions. It also served as an additional Individual Weapons Qualification for the year for the Soldier.

The Soldiers then conducted a Multiple Target Engagement Match were they encountered four targets at 15 yards and 25 yards. During this match, Soldier must execute a proper “Body Armor Drill” with two shots to the body and one shot to the head at 15 yards within seven seconds. If the shot doesn’t hit inside the facial scoring area the target is not counted.

Soldiers also fire using a barricade from the standing, kneeling and prone position to emphasize the use of cover during direct fire engagements.

Shooters in the top 10 percent take part in the Excellence in Competition match where they can earn points towards their Distinguished Marksmanship Badges.  This match challenges the shooters at distances from 30 yards on in while shooting in the standing, kneeling, and prone positions.

For more information about the State Marksmanship Unit, visit their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaMarksmanshipTrainingUnit

View more photos from the competition at the following link:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.381469968571339.96935.333718776679792&type=3