Virginia marksmen earn honors at national marksmanship match

In an excellence in competition pistol match March 17, Soldiers from around the Army score their pistol targets during the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms “All Army” Championship. The “All Army,” hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, included numerous individual and team matches such as pistol and rifle excellence in competition matches; combat rifle and pistol courses of fire and a multi-gun course of fire. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Julius Clayton /released)

SANDSTON, Va. — More than 200 shooters competed in the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia, March 11-18, 2018, including four Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard. The competition, commonly referred to as the “All-Army” match, including active duty, U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from across the country, divided into 37 teams.

U.S. Army Virginia National Guard Sgt. Alexandra Wilson shoots her service pistol in the bullseye match at the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia March 11-18, 2018. (U.S. Army Photo by Michelle Lunato/released)

Forming the Virginia National Guard’s team was Capt. Alexander Symons, assigned to 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; Sgt. 1st Class David Paquette, assigned to the 34th Civil Support Team; Sgt. John Miller, assigned to 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; and Sgt. Alexandra Wilson, assigned to the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute.

The All-Army competition is an annual event that aims to develop marksmanship skills among participants and recognize supper marksmanship skills among the force.

As a team, Virginia came in 13th overall, out of 37 teams, and both Paquette and Wilson earned the Gold Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge while Miller earned the Gold Distinguished Rifleman Badge.
Paquette earned the top spot as 1st Place Novice in the Combat Pistol Excellence in Competition Match, 3rd Place Novice in the Multi-Gun Championship Match and 3rd Place Novice in the Pistol Individual Championship. Given his success in the individual matches, Paquette earned the 1st Place Novice Overall Individual Championship Trophy, received a coin from Gen. Mark A. Milley, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and was also awarded the M1 Garand Service Rifle.

“The 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championship was an experience I hope I can have again,” Paquette said. “[I’m] humbled and motivated to continue to perfect the craft.”

Paquette’s name will be added to the U.S. Army Novice Championship Trophy that is held at Fort Benning.

For more information on the Virginia National Guard’s Marksmanship Training Unit, including updates and information on upcoming state marksmanship matches, visit them on Facebook.

Sgt. 1st Class David Paquette poses with his awards following his success at the 2018 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia. Paquette earned top honors as a novice shooter. (Courtesy photo)