Kentucky Soldiers, Airmen aim for marksmanship awards

By Sgt. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Army Staff Sgt. Brian Roution assumes the kneeling position and prepares to send shots down range in the Excellence in Competition Match during the annual Adjutant General's Marksmanship Match at Fort Knox Ky., July 31st, 2016. This match tests the Guardsman's ability to fire in various positions at different lengths in individual and team matches. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brandy Mort)

Army Staff Sgt. Brian Roution assumes the kneeling position and prepares to send shots down range in the Excellence in Competition Match during the annual Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match at Fort Knox Ky., July 31st, 2016. This match tests the Guardsman’s ability to fire in various positions at different lengths in individual and team matches. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brandy Mort)

FORT KNOX, Ky. — More than 70 Soldiers and Airmen of the Kentucky National Guard competed in pistol and rifle matches during the annual Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match at Fort Knox, Ky., July 30-31.

Annually the event brings together the state’s top shooters from the Army and Air Guard for competition, training and bragging rights. Competitors participated in individual matches, as well as on a team level.

The 238th Regional Training Institute’s team consisted of Maj. Timothy Mitchell, brigade supply officer and Staff Sgt. Shahid Iqbal, supply sergeant. This year was Mitchell’s first year competing and Iqbal’s second.

“I like to practice shooting on the civilian side, so I thought it was interesting to learn how we are able to shoot within the state,” Mitchell said. “I thought it was great to be able to learn from the trainers, as well as my teammates and fellow competitors.”

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While this event was a learning experience for Mitchell, Iqbal said he was happy to help his teammate along the way.

“My plan is to come back as many times as I can and help train and guide others along the way. This event is a great asset because I can also take back the lessons I am taught here, and bring them back to my unit to help others,” Iqbal said.

Match Non-commissioned Officer in Charge, Master Sgt. Edwin Garcia who is also assigned to the Kentucky small arms readiness section, enjoys the esprit de corps that the event brings to the different military branches and teams.

“It is great to see competitors, new and old, get out there and shoot,” Garcia said. “It is a great training aid for all of the participants.

“Every shooter is different, so there are different challenges each participant faces,” he said. “This event gives them an opportunity to learn, while also increasing their accuracy as a shooter.”

Kentucky’s State Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden, was in attendance and offered up words of encouragement to the troops as they began shooting, and also as they waited for the other iterations to shoot.

“It’s good training and good competition for our Soldier’s and Airmen,” said Munden, “One of the most important skill to have is to be able to fire your weapon accurately. This kind of competition adds to their knowledge and increases their skill level, while adding a little friendly competition amongst the ranks.”

The Kentucky National Guard awards the “Governor’s Twenty” tab to the top 20 participants in the competition. The award is only given on one occasion, once you have earned the “Governor’s Twenty” you keep the award and the patch. Participants who haven’t won the tab must out perform those that have already earned it in order to receive the award.

This year, four competitors  received the highly prestigious award for the very first time; Sgt. 1st Class Edward Cole, Tech. Sgt. Jeff Stanley, Staff Sgt. Joel Campbell, and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Joynt .

Team, Individual, and Overall Awards were given for the Top 3 Pistol and Top 3 Rifle shooters.

For the individual awards: 1st Place Pistol was awarded to Staff Sgt. David Farc, 1st Place Rifle was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Borders, and Top Gun, awarded to the top overall shooter, was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Eric Dean.

For the team awards: 1st Place Rifle was awarded to Air Guard B, which consisted of Senior Master Sgt. Darryl Loafman, Master Sgt. Tim Kenney, Master Sgt. Travis Keehner, and Tech Sgt. Jeffrey Stanley. 1st Place Pistol and 1st place overall were awarded to Air Guard A, which consisted of Staff Sgt. Jacob Fuller, Staff Sgt. David Farc, Tech Sgt. Daniel Creed, and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Larimore.

According to Dean, this year’s event was one of the largest in recent history. The sponsors are looking to boost participation to more than 100 participants for the next event.

If you, as an individual, or your unit, would like to refine your skills and participate in this training event, or if you would like any additional information for this event or future events, contact Sgt. 1st Class Eric Dean via telephone @ 502-640-1869 or via e-mail @ james.e.dean26.mil@mail.mil or jdean@kentuckyguard.com.

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