NEOSHO, MO – More than 70 soldiers recently converged on Camp Crowder, Mo., to compete for bragging rights and participate in friendly competition during the annual Missouri National Guard’s 2015 State Adjutant General State Combat Match Rifle/Pistol Championships.

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The state marksmanship matches – conducted by the State Marksmanship Coordinator and the Small Arms Readiness Team – are held annually to enhance marksmanship training. The marksmanship program offers Missouri Guard Soldiers and Airmen an opportunity to test marksmanship skills and weapon systems in battle-focused competition. Acquired marksmanship skills are brought back to home station units to assist commanders with weapon qualification and battlefield survivability.16786340860_71e05c42f6_z

“The benefit of this event is Soldiers and Airman will use the opportunity to compete against others as a reason to put in extra time and effort to improve their marksmanship skills. Ultimately Soldiers and Airman who strive to improve in order to perform better in competition can become valuable assets to their units,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Crane, G3 State Training Officer and match officer-in-charge.

The objective of the SMC is to conduct marksmanship and competitive related activities that will enhance effectiveness of unit level training programs in the Army and Air National Guard.16351089754_07ffe96974_m

“Their higher proficiency will make them more effective in combat situations and makes them a valuable training asset to assist others to become more proficient,” Crane said.16351051454_d351db248e_z

Each unit in the State is encouraged to maximize participation within their team allocations. Only one team per unit will be eligible for team awards, and each team of 4 must be a mix of 50 percent new shooters. A new shooter is any shooter who has not competed on a team at the Winston P. Wilson match.

Taking home the first place finish in the team event was Company A, 1107th Aviation Group; second place went to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and the
139th Maintenance Support Squadron took home third place.

More than 75 percent of the shooters this year were considered new shooters.

The competition features service members engaging targets from a variety of positions using standard 16787269439_5c33244c7e_zM16A2 rifles, M9 pistols and Shotguns – all while wearing required protective gear to include Kevlar helmets, and hearing and eye protection and gas masks.

In the Individual Novice category, Master Sgt. Benjamin Israel, with the 139th Security Forces Squadron won first place; Tech Sgt. Rodd Boyer, of the 139th Maintenance Support Squadron came in second place and Staff Sgt. Charles Thomas, Company A, 1107th Aviation Group rounded out the top three winners.

Last year’s event drew more than 150 competitors and coaches, however due to funding constraints this year’s match was limited to less competitors.

“We have fewer participants this year but we have maximized the range time and number of stages we are conducting because of the amount of available ammunition,” said Staff Sgt. Brett Redel, state marksmanship coordinator.

Redel, along with his support staff arrived three days prior to the match in order to begin setup of all ranges and classroom instruction.

“We want to make sure that all the teams can come in, grab their gear and hit the range with as little distraction as possible and be able to maximize their time to better themselves as marksmen,” he said.

Expending more than 30,000 pieces of ammunition over the three days, all 76 Soldiers and Airmen participating had ample opportunity to improve as a marksmen and takeaway a better understanding of how to train their units to become more proficient shooters.

“Ultimately this competition is about the camaraderie of new and old shooters who have a bond because of their love of shooting. They will take this training opportunity to improve themselves and their fellow Soldiers and Airmen while continuing the traditions of the Missouri National Guard Marksmanship Program,” said Sgt. Maj. Alan Meyer, G3 Operations Sergeant Major.16351150134_44b1dbea71_m

At the conclusion of the event the winning teams were:
1st Place: Company A, 1107th Aviation Group
2nd Place: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
3rd Place: 139th Maintenance Support Squadron

Individual Overall winners were:
1st Place: Master Sgt. Benjamin Israel, 139th Security Forces Squadron
2nd Place: Tech Sgt. Rodd Boyer, 139th Maintenance Support Squadron
3rd Place: Staff Sgt. Charles Thomas, Company A, 1107th Aviation Group

Individual Novice winners were:
1st Place: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Glen Baum, Company B 1-135th Aviation Regiment
2nd Place: Sgt. 1st Class John Snider, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Engineer Brigade
3rd Place: Second Lieutenant Michael Munson, 1135th Engineer Company

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