Kentucky Guardsmen compete for Governor’s Twenty

By Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Kentucky National Guard Airmen and Soliders compete in a rifle match at Fort Knox, Ky., July 25, 2015. The Guardsmen fired M4 rifles and M9 pistols in a variety of events during the annual Adjutant General Marksmanship Match. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Annually, the top shooters in the Kentucky National Guard gather to prove their skills and compete for the exclusive Governor’s Twenty patch. More than 50 Soldiers and Airmen took to the firing line at Fort Knox, Ky., July 25-26 for the Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match.

“This event showcases what the Kentucky National Guard has to offer as far as marksmanship is concerned,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Dean, Kentucky Marksmanship coordinator. “Shooting, I think, is in a Kentuckian’s DNA.”

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An Airman fires during a pistol event at The Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match in Fort Knox, Ky., July 25, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

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The Kentucky ¬†Guard awards the “Governor’s Twenty” tab only to the top 20 participants who have accumulated enough points over the two days of matches. Those that have earned the tab must also out perform those that may have already earned it, meaning if 18 of the participants currently ranked in the top 20 have previous been awarded the tab then only two will be awarded, which happened this year.

Master Sgt. Edwin Garcia of Joint Force Headquarters, and Staff Sgt. Shahid Iqbal of the 238th Training Regiment were the only two awarded the tab this year.

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Kentucky Guardsmen compete in a pistol event during The Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match at Fort Knox, Ky., July 25, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“When all the many things we as Soldiers and Airmen have to do to satisfy yearly training obligations are complete, we still have to be a confident and competent operator of small-arms,” said Dean. “Thankfully the Kentucky National Guard’s leadership has already seen the importance of these events and once again stepped up to ensure its success.”

Guardsmen also compete for the “Top Gun” award, which is given to the participant who achieves the highest point total over the two days. This year there were five individual matches that created the aggregate score. Staff Sgt. Jacob Fuller of 123rd Civil Engineering Squardron, 123rd Air Wing was the winner of the award. Fuller was also the top rifle marksman for the weekend, while Dean brought home top honors for pistol competition.

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A Soldiers fires during a rifle event at The Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match at Fort Knox, Ky., July 25, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Capt. William Wilford, Kentucky’s senior marksmanship coordinator said the Small Arms Readiness Training Section’s (SARTS) mission is to¬†stand ready to be a combat multiplier to commanders across the state via clinics, or by sending SARTS NCO’s to their training events to assist in training Soldiers.

“From basic qualifications of individual weapons, to training in the live-fire Shoot-house, we have the tools available to meet a commander’s intent,” said Wilford. “This yearly training event allows a wealth of knowledge to gather to assist new soldiers and airmen in some of the finer arts of marksmanship and to simply become better at their jobs.”

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Kentucky Guardsmen review their targets at The Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match in Fort Knox, Ky., July 25, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

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