US Army Reserve Team wins National Hearst Doubles Team Match

Congratulations to SGT Kristoffer Friend and CPT Kirk Freeman on their win at the 2014 National Hearst Doubles 2 Man Team Match.

The Hearst Doubles Rifle Team Match is a two-person team match where both team members fire the 30-shot President’s Rifle course of fire (a modified National Match Course) with service rifles. The match winners receive the William Randolph Hearst Trophy, donated by William Randolph Hearst to the National Matches in 1940. The Hearst Rifle Trophy is a 17th century Spanish flintlock carbine in blunderbuss style, inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl and having a chased lock.

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Friend and Freeman fired scores of 294-13x and 293-8x, respectively, to narrowly beat out their fellow competitors with a team score of 587-21x

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Army Reserve Shooting Team at Vintage Sniper Match

The Civilian Marksmanship Program Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match is a two-person team match fired at 300 and 600 yards on SR-3 and MR-1 targets respectively with 10 rounds per person per distance in the prone position using military sniper rifles issued prior to 1953 or replicas of those rifles. For each record shot, the target is exposed for twenty seconds while the shooter engages and the spotter observes and calls wind. The competition target has scoring rings much smaller than hit-or-miss targets typically used in sniper training even today, increasing the challenge in precision shooting, especially with vintage equipment.

US Army Reserve Marksmanship Program members Sgt. First Class Dwayne Lewis and Staff Sgt. John Arcularius, both with extensive sniping and long range precision shooting experience, competed in the event wearing complete camouflage, including ghillie suits and face paint as a demonstration and to represent the Army Reserve at this national event.

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ARCD All Army 2014

ARMP Soldiers Dominate All Army 2014

The training value extracted from marksmanship competitions is invaluable to the missions required of Soldiers and the experience gained through competitions is invaluable to increasing readiness. The teams of shooter-instructors in the Army Reserve Marksmanship Program represent the best skilled Soldiers in the Reserve and their participation at the 2014 All Army Small Arms Championships proves that.

“At the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, we use the phrase ‘competition to combat’ to describe the experience of taking lessons learned through competition to enhance the capability and lethality of the soldier in combat,” said Lt. Col. Don King Jr., commander of the USAMU and host of the event. All Army is an advanced combat live-fire training event. Training and skill exercises are applicable to all military small arms firing disciplines.

With the championship comprising 213 competitors from all walks of the Active, National Guard and Reserve components, ARMP team shooters dominated every aggregate of the entire competition.

Starting with the combat rifle event, a NATO-style combat match fired on silhouetted targets from 25 to 500 yards, ARMP Service Rifle shooter Cpt. Samuel K. Freeman won the individual Rifle Championship aggregate. Freeman, a champion Across The Course and Long Range competitor with a string of legendary wins commented, “I’m just here to shoot X’s and deliver the news.” All Army was Cpt. Freeman’s first big combat-type match.

Sgt. 1st Class John Buol, assigned to the ARMP Service Pistol and Combat rosters and former Service Pistol NCOIC, took both the Pistol and Combined Arms Championship aggregates. Buol, a USPSA competitor recruited to the ARMP, found that his new experience with Service Pistol greatly enhanced his accuracy and helped secure his wins.

The overall Championship, a grand aggregate of the three individual aggregates, was won by ARMP Combat Team shooter Master Sgt. Russell Moore. Master Sgt. Moore has displayed an uncanny level of consistent skill that championship-level shooting requires. At the 2014 All Army, Moore was in the top three of individual aggregates. Even in those events he didn’t win, he was very close to the top.

Master Sgt. Moore received a Secretary of the Army Trophy Rifle, a picture plaque of the US Army Small Army Championship Trophy, which will be displayed at the USMAU Headquarters and a Secretary of the Army coin.


ARMP Team shooter Sgt. Major James Mauer, 3rd Battalion Army Reserve Careers Division, earned his last needed “leg” points and was awarded the Distinguished Rifleman Badge through Excellence in Competition (EIC). The Excellence In Competition program was created in 1894 and a total of 3,304 Soldiers have received the Distinguished Rifleman badge since. “Going Distinguished” is a rite of passage for all ARMP Team shooters and Sgt. Major Mauer is warmly welcomed to the club.

Results and photos of the event:

http://www.usaac.army.mil/amu/competitions/2014/2014%20allarmyresults.asp

Best Warrior Excellence In Competition

Best Warrior Competitions (BWC) are becoming popular among Soldiers and for good reason. The event tests a wide range of Army skills and pits Soldiers in friendly competition. Competitive events have been long recognized as a positive motivating force for improving ability. The 11th Aviation Command recently held a Best Warrior Competition.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Anderson served as the Non Commissioned Officer In Charge of the 11th Aviation’s BWC marksmanship events and the assistance NCOIC of the overall event. “While I shot a lot while serving in the Marine Corps, I recently had a chance to compete in an Excellence In Competition event hosted by Army Reserve Careers Division. I liked the pace of the ARCD EIC event as it challenged marksmanship in detail versus merely training to hit somewhere as done in routine qualification.”

With that background, Staff Sgt Anderson had members of the Army Reserve Marksmanship Program (ARMP) conduct a formal Excellence In Competition event as a scored component of the 11th AVN BWC.

Master Sgt. Norman Anderson, a top shooter and rifle coach with the ARMP, ran the line at the event. “Marksmanship is the only Skill Level One task that can simultaneously save your life, your buddy’s life, and accomplish the mission. It is important for Soldiers to learn how to shoot better than routine qualification allows.”

EIC events are designed as both a competition and a training event, serving to train and support the war fighter. To earn awards, a Soldier must participate in a recognized EIC event and finish in the top ten percent. Unlike routine qualification, where everyone is expected qualify, Excellence In Competition pits skills against the rest of the field and the bottom 90 percent receive nothing. Events that have a restricted roster, such as to a specific unit or command, may only award four leg points to the finishers and only if the shooter does not yet have any points. Such events are said to be “baby legs” and a way to get a Soldier started in higher-level shooting. Only events that are open to all comers may award more Leg points and to those personnel having already earned points. Among those in the top ten percent, points are awarded based on order of finish. The first place finisher receives ten points, the top third receive eight points and the remainder will earn six points. Again, those finishing below the top ten percent of all shooter earn nothing. The goal is to not merely pass, but to surpass. Everyone seems to think they shoot expert. Only an event that recognizes the top ten percent can show who the real experts are.

The EIC program awards a Bronze medal after earning any number of points, Silver after accumulating 20 points and the Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge after earning 30 points. These points can be accumulated any time in a person’s life and are a part of your permanent records. This program began in the 1870’s and Army Marksmanship records show that since then only 3,395 Soldiers have earned the Distinguished Rifleman, 1,689 members have earned the Distinguished Pistol Shot badge and 499 have earned both.

BWC Rifle offhand

BWC EIC rifle kneeling

BWC Rifle kneeling

BWC EIC Pistol

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Army Reserve Careers Division Excellence In Training

“Not too back for a bunch of career counselors. They shot very well, ” notes Sgt. Major James Mauer or Army Reserve Careers Division, Battalion Three (ARCD Bn 3), nicknamed “Team Firestorm.”

In recent years, ARCD has been noted for hosting improved marksmanship events, including higher level shooting events normally seen at more advanced training. SGM Mauer explains, “Letting our ARCCs (Army Reserve Career Counselors) become Subject Matter Experts in marksmanship is beneficial as it demonstrates to their Soldiers they truly believe in effective training. Our events formally recognize the top ten percent in our Battalion with orders published by Department of Army and kept in their permanent records. This builds camaraderie, esprit de corps and team building.”

Better than merely hosting a range event, the training is proving effective. The unit is now enjoying a nearly 90% first time go rate on qualification, with the remainder passing on the second attempt. Soldiers that previously struggled to qualify a year prior were now earning awards within the Battalion for superior shooting. Staff Sgt. John Arcularius of ARCD Bn 3 said, “This is the second year that our Battalion has conducted actual training prior to qualification and it shows. The results are validated by improved performance.”

ARCD Bn 3 commander, LTC Stephen Keck noted, “This was absolutely OUTSTANDING Annual Training. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am truly humbled to be a small part of Team Firestorm.”

Staff Sgt. Arcularius, a former member of the Marine Corps Weapon Training Battalion, praised the Marine shooting team at Quantico for their help. “The Marines spared no effort in helping us. Gunnery Sgt. Fernald, Staff NCOIC of the Rifle Team, made sure we had everything needed while at Quantico.”

For rifle shooting, ARCD BN 3 “Firestorm” Soldiers achieved a 76% first time qualification rate. With pistol, personnel achieved an 80% first time qualification rate. With a combined 82 Soldiers, this was a total 91% of ARCD personnel achieving a first time successful qualification rate. In addition, Firestorm shot rifle and pistol Excellence In Competition events. EIC events have been formally recognized by the Army since 1884. The program tracks marksmanship achievement via a point system commonly referred to as “Leg” points in an effort to obtain awards signifying heightened marksmanship ability. EIC badges are much more prominent than normal qualification badges, issued in Bronze, Silver and Gold, as opposed to the typical “tin” qualification badge, and eligible for wear on dress uniforms, as per 670-1. This EIC program is governed by AR 350-66 and is recognized by all services, not just the Army, as well as civilians.

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All Army 2013

Nearly all marksmanship skill and knowledge was created via organized, competitive shooting. The US Army’s first marksmanship manual was developed and written by competitive shooters, people who learned their skills in competition shooting. Army Regulation 350-66 states that all organized, formal shooting events are classified as training and is an ideal vehicle for developing skilled and knowledgeable small arms instructors.

In 2004, the Army Marksmanship Unit revitalized The The All Army Small Arms Championships and have held it every year since. The event consists of matches with the M16/M4 series and M9/M11 pistol fired in a series of individual and team events. Matches consisted of precision and timed fire on known distance ranges on scored silhouette targets from 75 to 500 yards for rifle and 10 to 35 yards for pistol, along with Combined Arms matches utilizing both weapons in Close Quarters Battle rifle and pistol scenarios scored by elapsed time.

Army Reserve Careers Division Soldiers excelled in many of the matches conducted at the All Army Small Arms Championships. Notable individual performances included SFC John Buol winning second place in Pistol, second place in Combined Arms and a second place overall finish. SFC Leslie Lewis finished thirteenth place overall and SFC Charles Parker finished in the top bracket of the Excellence in Competition event, earning a full ten point leg towards his Distinguished Pistol Badge.

As a team, ARCD Soldiers took second place in Pistol, third place in the Combined Arms CQB events and fifth place overall.

Shooting events like All Army offer a great opportunity to take the training advantages that formalized shooting competition offers. All the courses shot offer near perfect feedback and allow the Soldier-shooter to see the exact placement of every shot fired. Courses on a KD range mark the location of groups and individually fired rounds, hit or miss, and the opportunity to record the results for later study. Zero settings and marksmanship error is readily observable and more easily diagnosed. Contrast this to the current Army norm of shooting on RETS “pop up” targets where this lack of critical feedback is simply not available and hinders the Soldier from improving skills. Merely participating in events such as All Army offers superior training compared to the norm of current Army qualification ranges.

The USAR Marksmanship Program is organizing events like this to be held regionally to encourage greater participation. Combining training, qualification and Excellence in Competition into one event eases the small arms training burden on units while offering a better state of readiness throughout the Reserves.

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