BISMARCK, N.D. — Members of the North Dakota National Guard marksmanship teams excelled for the eighth consecutive year at the recent Marksmanship Advisory Council Region VI (MAC VI) championship at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center, Wyo., July 26 to July 28.
The key elements of this competition are designed to improve battle-focused marksmanship and validate sharpshooter skills essential to individual readiness.
Nearly 80 Guard members participated from Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota. Thirteen Soldiers and Airmen represented the North Dakota Guard.
“I am extremely proud of these great Soldiers and Airmen from our organization and their achievements at these extremely competitive matches against some of the best shooters in the National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general for the North Dakota National Guard. “Good marksmanship is an extremely important military skill that directly supports our ability to perform effectively on the battlefield and accomplish our war-time missions.”
The North Dakota National Guard sent three teams consisting of four members each and one individual marksman, Staff Sgt. Jason Dittus, 164th Engineer Battalion, who earned third place in Rifle Excellence in Competition match. North Dakota Guard members Lt. Col Ben Cleghorn, Camp Grafton Training Center, and Master Sgt. Stacey Lockwood, 119th Wing, served as support staff for the competition.
“I was honored to have the opportunity to compete with great National Guard marksmen from all over region six,” said 1st Sgt. Joey Wesson, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, a member of North Dakota National Guard Team Charlie. “Participating in these types of competitive matches help our non-commissioned officers become better weapon-skills trainers within their units.”
The North Dakota National Guard Alpha team swept the team awards. Alpha team was comprised of Staff Sgt. Cody Dewandeler; Staff Sgt. Daniel Wieland; Sgt. Tyler Goldade; and Senior Airman Gavin Rook.
Bravo team members include: Capt. Blake Hillerson, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; Sgt. 1st Class Josh Haugen, 164th Regional Training Institute; Staff Sgt. Tyrel Hoppe, 119th Wing; and Sgt. Josh Bucklin, 815th Engineer Company.
Charlie team members: 1st Sgt. Joe Wesson; 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment; and Senior Master Sgt. Brian Rook, Senior Master Sgt. Wade Swenson and Staff Sgt. Matt Jasper, all members of the 119th Wing.
In the open class category, which consists of nine events with only the top three places in each event earning mention, North Dakota marksmen claimed 21 of the 27 positions. The open class is comprised of shooters that have previously participated in MAC VI competition.
“It is my honor to be associated with these great North Dakota marksmen,” said Swenson. “It has been a long year practicing and traveling in order to be ready to compete at the high-level competition that the MAC VI offers. Our continued success is a direct correlation to the support we receive from our state at every level. We would not be this competitive without that support.”
First-time MAC VI shooter, Staff Sgt. Dan Wieland, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, placed in the top three in four of the nine novice awards.
Additional highlights for team North Dakota include:
Combat Pistol Team Aggregate and Combined Arms Team Pistol Champion.
North Dakota National Guard’s Alpha Team: Staff Sgt. Cody Dewandeler, 119th Wing; Staff Sgt. Daniel Wieland, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment; Sgt. Tyler Goldade, 815th Engineer Company; and Senior Airman Gavin Rook, 119th Wing.
Combined Arms Individual Aggregate and Combined Arms Individual Rifle Champion:
Sgt. Tyler Goldade.
Combat Pistol individual Aggregate Champion:
Senior Airman Gavin Rook.
North Dakota marksmen have won eight straight regional MAC VI competitions. The next round of expected matches is the All-Army competition at Fort Benning, Georgia, early next year.