Equal Rights History

To CBS Sunday Morning and Ken Burns,
I am a long-time fan of CBS Sunday Morning and Ken Burns. Given his typical thoroughness with history, I was surprised at an oversight in his “Baseball is a Mirror of our Country” piece that aired on your show.

“The first real progress in civil rights since the Civil War took place… on a baseball diamond…” The oversight here is that marksmanship programs started just after the Civil War to better train up to the capabilities rifled small arms offered provided equal opportunities for competitors decades before this.

The U.S. Army began the Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) program in 1884, first creating Distinguished Rifleman and then Distinguished Pistol Shot gold badges to award competitors finishing in the top ten percent at EIC events. Buffalo Soldiers were equal participants and noteworthy competitors.

Buffalo Soldier marksmanship badges

The first shooter to become Double Distinguished, earning both badges, was Cpt. Horace Wayman Bivins, earning the distinction in 1903. A member of the 10th Cavalry Regiment and decorated for valor for his actions at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, accounts of his history “reads like fiction from the imagination of a pulp magazine writer” as one newspaper described him. The Army Reserve Postal Match has an event named in his honor.

CPT Horace Bivins

The EIC program was managed by the U.S. Army Department of Civilian Marksmanship and then the Civilian Marksmanship Program and has been an open competition for military and civilian shooters. It is the only sport mandated by federal law, per Public Law Title 36, U.S. Code § 40727.

This is history worthy of your attention. I’ve sent articles on the history of Captain Horace Wayman Bivins and the Army’s marksmanship Equal Opportunities.

https://armyreservemarksman.info/equal-opportunities/

https://armyreservemarksman.info/cpt-bivins/

https://www.archives.gov/publications/record/1998/03/buffalo-soldiers.html

https://www.dyingtotelltheirstories.com/home/2020/3/5/qtznpg8giquyff1bwnaldudl2lgl95

John M. Buol Jr.
SFC, USAR
USARCMP Public Affairs/Postal Match Program
https://www.usar.army.mil/ARM/

Competition Shooting in Special Operations

SGM (ret.) Patrick McNamara (1st SFG, SFOD-D) interviewed by LCDR (ret.) John “Jocko” Willink (SEAL Team 3) about shooting experience within special operations forces. While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, SGM McNamara developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations, running monthly IPSC matches and semi-annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army. This is common throughout military special operations. All Army is an annual Service Conditions match held by the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, similar to Service Conditions matches held throughout all NATO and Commonwealth militaries.

https://armyreservemarksman.info/tung-nguyen-memorial-match/

3D SFG(A) Soldiers report that “Most members of SOF (Special Operations Forces) use competitive shooting as a training tool. Our gear looks like that used in 3-Gun because that sort of practical competition is how we set up equipment.”

Training at home with LTC Garcia

Another idea for #USArmyReserve Soldiers training at home. Lt. Col. Garcia of the Service Pistol team set up an air gun range in his garage.

Home air gun range.

Air guns, such as this one based on the SIG 320 (M17), can be used safely at home.

Indoor gallery courses (Smallbore and Air gun) were among the first formal #PostalMatch events directed by then Chief, Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Sutton dating back to the 1960s and featured in Army Reserve Magazine, the predecessor to Warrior-Citizen.

See this archived copy of Army Reserve Magazine from 1969.

Read more about LTG Sutton and USAR marksmanship history in the USAR Course of Fire Book.