Va. Guard Soldiers, Airmen awarded for rifle marksmanship excellence

Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen receive awards for their outstanding performance during the Adjutant General’s 2017 Rifle Match May 21, 2017, at Fort Pickett, Virginia.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen received awards for their outstanding performance during the Adjutant General’s 2017 Rifle Match May 21, 2017, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Sixty-five participants competed in a variety of individual and team events May 19-20, hosted by the Fort Pickett-based 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regional Training Institute. The state-level competition included events such as reflexive fire, an urban assault course, and a course for the Army’s Excellence in Competition badge. All Virginia National Guardsmen are welcome to attend, regardless of rank or prior weapon qualification scores, because it is most importantly a training and sustainment event.

“All warriors, Army or Air, are trained in basic marksmanship,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sammy Jones, noncommissioned officer-in-charge 3-183rd RTI. “Here you definitely have to step out of your comfort zone in warrior tasks involving your weapon systems.”

A portion of the competition included the Excellence in Competition match, an Army regulated match that has to be fired under certain parameters, the top 10% performers can be awarded the EIC badge from Fort Benning and is a stepping stone to be a distinguished shooter.

“Besides the EIC we try to put as much realism into our matches so that they can actually take that training back to their units and know that there is more than just zeroing and an individual weapons qualification,” said Jones.

There is no IWQ score required to enter into the competition. The match welcomes novices, service members that have never participated in a military match before. The program requires that teams be made up of at least half of novices.

“We don’t just want a unit’s best shooters but novices as well,” said Jones. “This is not only a competition but it is also a training event. Anybody can come, we definitely want to share as much knowledge as possible to start building that interest in marksmanship.”

“I’ve never done a military match before,” said Spc. Dominic Rivera, an infantryman of Virginia Beach-based Troop C, 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “It was great training, especially in iron sights. A lot of times now you just use optics, so this was getting back to the fundamentals. You can tell new privates where to adjust on windage and elevation for certain targets, yardage and such. That will definitely be beneficial.”

Rivera was among the top ten shooters at the rifle match, earning the coveted Governor’s Twenty tab. Another ten Virginia Guardsmen will be awarded the tab at the June pistol match. This year’s Governor’s Twenty will be invited to train and participate in the regional competition in August at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. In the last several years, Virginia has done very well amongst the seven competing states.

“All I want is for the Soldiers and Airmen to just take a chance, its a training event along with a competition and there’s a lot of take aways from this,” said Jones. “A lot of contacts that you make with other units but also there’s an opportunity to travel internationally and compete, such as Sgt. Steven Fletcher, a double distinguished shooter. All that came from experience he gained in this program.”

The following personnel were presented with individual awards for the competition:

Aggregate:
1st place Staff: Sgt. Chad Stigall, Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center
2nd place: Staff Sgt. Michael Tiller, 203rd RED HORSE
3rd place, 1st Lt. Alexander Symons, Alpha Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

Novice: 1st place, Staff Sgt. Michael Tiller, 203rd RED HORSE

Excellence in Competition:
1st place: Staff Sgt. Mark Kramer, 203rd RED HORSE
2nd place: Staff Sgt. Chad Stigall, Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center
3rd place: Staff Sgt. Robert Tench, Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center

The following teams were presented with awards for the competition:

1st place: Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center
2nd place: Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
3rd place: Officer Candidates assigned to 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute

The following Soldiers and Airmen received the Governor’s Twenty tab for being the top ten rifle competitors and are invited to participate at the regional competition in August:

– Staff Sgt. Chad Stigall, Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center
– Staff Sgt. Michael Tiller, 203rd RED HORSE
– 1st Lt. Alexander Symons, Alpha Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
– Staff Sgt. Mark Kramer, 203rd RED HORSE
– Tech Sgt. James Allison, 192nd Fighter Wing
– Spc. Domonic Rivera, Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
– Staff Sgt. Kevin Frank, 192nd Fighter Wing
– Staff Sgt. Robert Tench, Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center
– Officer Candidate Michael Sins, 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute
– Sgt. Maj. Joel Fix, 29th Infantry Division