Guardsmen from all over the country compete in marksmanship championships
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit (NGMTU) hosted over 300 competitors at the 36th Annual Winston P. Wilson (WPW) Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Joseph T. Robinson during the weeklong November competition.
Designed to promote advanced marksmanship training and establish a competitive marksmanship venue for the National Guard, this year’s competition attracted Soldiers and Airmen from thirty-five states and territories.
"The matches are combat-oriented, but at the same time, they include some precision slow fire shooting, so these Matches are different from your standard bull's-eye shooting because of the combat orientation, physical intensity [shoot and move], and utilization of standard issued weapon systems," said Staff Sgt. Micah Marchand, a double distinguished marksman, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and instructor for the NGMTU's Squad Designated Marksman course.
"Shooters are able to enroll in our schools to better know how to operate and maintain all types of weapon systems, and some of the best shooters are offered a chance to try out for the All Guard team and invited back as instructors for some of our advanced marksmanship courses."
“These matches aren't for beginner level shooters, but teams willing to practice and prepare to travel to Camp Robinson and compete at the pinnacle of National Guard marksmanship competition have a good chance of winning at the Winston P. Wilson,” said Master Sgt. Martin Keller, National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit Operations Non-Commissioned Officer-In-Charge.
"The Winston P. Wilson Matches are, for the most part, a chance for younger shooters to learn from more experienced shooters the advanced marksmanship skills needed to compete against the caliber of competitors present at the Wilson matches," said Marchand, who has been competitively shooting for over a decade and is a current member of the All Guard team. "These skills cannot be obtained from reading a training manual or a field manual, but through realistic combative shooting events."
The WPW gives individuals an opportunity to test marksmanship skills and weapon systems in a battle-focused training environment. All-Guard team member, Staff Sgt. Nathan Watters, of the Texas Air National Guard, said this type of competition “enhances Soldier’s and Airmen’s ability to survive on the battlefield by allowing them to have engagement skills under a high competitive stress that leaves no margin of error.”
“For these disciplines, we have shoot and move matches, simulated barricades, prone and kneeling positions,” said Watters. “We’re shooting in an environment that, for the most part, Soldiers and Airmen don’t get to experience in their normal qualification programs.”
The competition's matches are geared to bring out the most advanced marksmanship skills obtained through state and regional level training programs. If winning the Winston P. Wilson is a test of a state's marksmanship program, then Texas has room to boast. They were this year's big winner. They placed first in the All States Trophy Championship and dominated most of the individual and team competition.
"Our success stems from the amount of training prior to the WPW matches," said Chief Warrant Officer Rick Tanner, Texas's State Marksmanship Coordinator. "Our general staff provides us all of the necessary tools, funding, and training time to make us successful at these competitions."
2006 Winston P. Wilson results:
Individual pistol competition:
Staff Sgt. Scott D. Blue of Pennsylvania was the novice winner of the Individual Combat Pistol Match (Match 203). Blue is a graduate of the NGMTU's Squad Designated Marksman and Small Arms Master Gunner Course. Another name familiar to the NGMTU and the shooting community, Maj. Shannon Jordan, an All Guard Team member from the Okalahoma National Guard, finished first in the open competition firing a score of 307 out of 360 possible points.
In the Combat Pistol Match (Match 221), Tech. Sgt. Scott Fuller of the Texas Air National Guard finished first for the novice shooters, while Staff Sgt. Bruce C. Beauregard, an All Guard Team member from the Vermont National Guard, finished first with a score of 168 out of 180 possible. Beauregard was also awarded the Staff Sgt. Millard Butler Trophy for winning the match.
In the Service Pistol Individual Championship (Match 225), the overall individual winners in the pistol competition are derived by computing the aggregate scores of the two matches previously mentioned. With this, Fuller was named the overall pistol novice winner, while Staff Sgt. Charles W. Blackwell, a Texas Guardsman and former All Guard shooter, won the Open competition with an overall score of 472 of the 540 possible.
Team pistol competition:
In the Service Pistol Team Match (Match 230), a four man aggregate of the individual championship match 225, the Texas team of Blackwell, Chief Warrant Officer Richard Tanner, Staff Sgt. Nathan Watters, and Tech Sgt. Scott Fuller finished with an overall score of 1653 of 2160 possible. Vermont finished in second and the team of Arizona Guardsmen finished in a close third.
With a final score of 870 of 930 possible points, the Texas team also took first in the General George Patton Combat Pistol Team Match (Match 240M). The combination of victory in the two team matches pushed the Texas team to the top of the overall team pistol championship, with the aggregate scores of Match 230 and 240M being the determining factor. The WPW Pistol Team Trophy was presented to the team for their score of 2523 of the 3090 possible. The team of Pennsylvania Guardsmen came in second, with the Vermont National Guard's team coming in third.
Individual rifle competition:
In Match 303, the Combat Rifle Run Down Match, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Lee from the Texas National Guard won the novice division, with fellow Texan, Staff Sgt. Nathan Watters, winning the open division. Out of the 150 possible points in the match, Watters scored 136 with 11 bull's eyes.
Watters also took top honors in the open division of the Combat Rifle Close Quarter Battle Match (Match 305) with a score of 172 out of 200 possible. Another Texas Guardsman, Sgt. Kevin Lingenzweig, earned first place honors in the novice division of the match.
One of the best success stories of the week came in the Combat Rifle Match (Match 321). Out of a possible 300 points, Staff Sgt. James T. Phelps, of the Missouri National Guard, fired an impressive 282 with 13 bull's eyes, to win both the novice division first place overall in the match. Phelps was presented the Colonel John Abair Service Rifle Trophy for his victory in the match. Staff Sgt. Bradley G. Huston, of the Nebraska National Guard, won the open division of the Combat Rifle Match with a score of 277 with 14 bull's eyes.
Staff Sgt. Watters led the way in the Individual Service Rifle Championship (Match 325), which is the aggregate score of the previously mentioned individual rifle matches. Out of the 650 points possible, Watters totaled 579 with 23 bull's eyes, earning him the WPW Combat Rifle Individual Trophy. Nebraska's Huston trailed with Staff Sgt. Timothy C. Trapp, an All Guard shooter out of Kansas, rounding out the top three.
This year's winner of the Fallen Comrade Trophy, which is presented to the individual combat pistol and rifle aggregate champ, was Maj. Shannon Jordan from the Oklahoma National Guard. Of 480 points possible, Jordan's score of 438 with 18 bull's eyes, narrowly defeated Sergeant's Huston and Watters for the victory.
Team rifle competition:
Team Illinois brought home the Precision Rapid Fire Engagement Trophy for their victory in the match (Match 314). Team members were Spec. Todd Osborne, Spec. James J. Tadrowski, Spec. Jason D. Houston, and Sgt. 1st Class Chad R. Peterson.
Texas won the Team Service Rifle Championship (Match 330), with a score of 2082, with 63 bull's eyes. Texas took the title based on the Match 325 aggregate scores of team members Watters, Tanner, Blackwell, and Fuller. The Texas team also won Match 355, the Combat Rifle Fire Team Assault Falling Plates Match.
Pennsylvania won the Combat Rifle Team Obstacle Course (Match 340). Staff Sgts. Scott D. Blue, Edward H. Altmeyer, William L. Foster, and Maj. Joseph R. Olszewski, fired a combined score of 137.
The newest event for this year's Winston P. Wilson was Match 344, the Combined Arms Team Match (CATM). In the CATM, competitors receive a patrol order and move tactically as a team to a designated Pickup Zone where they are airlifted by helicopter to the second phase of the match. The second phase consists of seven obstacles that have to be successfully navigated. In the final stage, teams fire machine guns in a prone- unsupported position, rifles in a sitting position, and pistols in a standing position. All of this action is stretched over a two mile course and was the highlight of this year's Winston P. Wilson. Texas won the match with a score of 215, followed by Pennsylvania and Vermont in the 2nd and 3rd positions.
Pennsylvania and Nebraska battled their way into second and third, but in the end, Texas brought home the top honors in the Wilson matches, scoring a combined aggregate score of 2214 for the week. Labeled as Match 350, the score earned the Texas team with the rights to the WPW Service Rifle Team Championship Trophy.
The top 15 pistol and the top 35 rifle shooters were presented the "Chief's 50 badge" at this year's competition. The badge is awarded on behalf of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to the National Guard's top 50 shooters.
New recipients of the Chief's 50 were:
Texas: Sgt. Kevin Lindenzweig, Staff Sgt. Troy Proctor, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Lee, Chief Warrant Officer Richard Tanner, and Tech Sgt. Scott Fuller.
Pennsylvania: Staff Sgt. Edward H. Altmeyer, Sgt. George I. Reichart, and Maj. Joseph R. Olszewski.
Idaho: Spec. Dennis M. Shumway of Idaho and Staff Sgt. Kelly Biggs.
New York: Master Sgt. David M. Smith and Tech Sgt. Christopher J. Ashley.
Single state winners were Staff Sgt. Carl Bourne of Connecticut, Staff Sgt. Karl A. Sturgill of Delaware, Staff Sgt. Timothy C. Trapp of Kansas, Sgt. Kyle B. Bartman of Maine, Staff Sgt. James T. Phelps of Missouri, Warrant Officer Candidate Roger Farley of Oklahoma, Sgt. 1st Class Jose A Feliciano of Puerto Rico, Maj. Michael W. Martin of Virginia, and Staff Sgt. David J. Hastings of Wyoming.