Competition is the pressure test of training and practice; it is the means through which resilience is developed. A loss is not a bad thing. A loss is an indicator of development; a lesson. If you do things a certain way you will achieve a certain outcome, the same can be said of winners. Individuals and teams winning competitions were better prepared to compete because their development didn’t involve the simple execution of tasks like an automaton.
An interview with one of High Power’s greatest competitor and coach, MSG Norman Anderson.
by Timothy Hale
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Four U.S. Army Reserve marksmen were among the 48 competing at U.S. Army Forces Command’s (FORSCOM) second annual marksmanship competition, Nov. 8-10, 2016.
Master Sgt. Robert Mango, with the 9th Mission Support Command; Sgt. 1st Class Joel Micholick, with the 9th Battalion, Army Reserve Careers Division; Sgt. Joseph Hall, with the 310th Psychological Operations Company (Airborne), and Staff Sgt. Thomas Walsh, with 744th Engineer Company, 321st Engineer Battalion, 416th Theater Engineer Command, represented the U.S. Army Reserve in the competition.
Mango and Hall finished second in the Expert category using the M9 pistol and M4 rifle, respectively, while Micholick and Walsh, finished second and third, respectively, in the M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) and M9 Novice categories. Mango, Micholick, and Hall are all members of the U.S. Army Reserve Combat Marksmanship Program while Walsh is hoping to make the team.
In addition to the U.S. Army Reserve marksmen, the four-day FORSCOM competition also featured marksmen from the active Army and the Army National Guard in events for the M9, M4, and M249, to recognize Soldiers who are beyond expert marksmen. The multi-tiered events challenged the competitors’ ability to accurately and quickly engage targets in a variety of conditions and environments.
Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder, the FORSCOM command sergeant major, said that while this is a competition to see who is the best in the Army, ultimately this event will hopefully inspire individuals, and thereby their units, to become better with this basic Soldier skill – the ability to shoot and engage targets with lethal force.
“There is nothing more fundamental than being able to engage and destroy our enemies on the battlefield,” Schroeder said. “We do that with our weapons systems and it’s important to build these competencies in our leaders.”
Schroeder said this competition is different from others in that this event tests combat marksmanship – the ability to adapt and overcome a particular situation while still putting lethal rounds downrange.
“We want to test combat marksmanship,” he said. “We want to get troopers operating in the same conditions that they would be operating in combat.
“Competitions drive the way we train. So we want to take these Soldiers and have them go back to their unit leadership and tell them what they did here and we want them to drive their training to get better at these competitions, which will make us better in combat. That’s really what this is all about; improving individual and unit proficiency and that will help us in the future.”
All four U.S. Army Reserve marksmen fully understand the importance of individual and unit readiness. All four served in the active Army before moving into the U.S. Army Reserve and Mango, Micholick, and Hall all previously served in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit based at Fort Benning, Georgia. They all said there was a good combination of traditional and combat marksmanship events to challenge their skills and abilities.
“(This competition) is trying to introduce marksmanship down at a unit level,” Mango said. “So it can’t flood the newer shooters with all brand new things that’s going to be foreign to them. So a lot of it was what you would expect a Soldier to have – from the holster and running to find cover – the things that the Army teaches you. But it just wasn’t black on white (paper target) bulls-eye type shooting. It really sped up (the competition) and that’s a good thing.”
Hall said he enjoyed the competition, especially all of the more unique events.
“The competition was great with all the different scenarios – the stress shoots, the alleyways, everything,” Hall said. “It challenged us in every different style of shooting – stuff that you would see in combat to actual marksmanship. There were just so many different aspects of it; it was just a great time.”
Hall said the biggest take-away for him was to share what he learned when he returns to his unit to included shooting under pressure and time constraints.
“All the different scenarios – you can run through those with any Soldier out there,” Hall said. He added that this competition was more about the combat shooting than precision shooting.
“This teaches you a quick response in how to take your target down,” he said.
For Walsh, a former infantry Soldier and drill sergeant on active duty, now a U.S. Army Reserve combat engineer, said competitive shooting has made him a better Soldier and he is able to share those experiences with his fellow Soldiers.
“It’s nice for me as a prior 11-Bravo (infantry) to go into these units and say, ‘Hey, let’s take a step back and get back to the basics and become shooters again.”
Soldiers need range time in order to become individually better which benefits the entire unit, Walsh said.
“Each Soldier needs to be good on all the weapon systems not just their assigned weapon,” he said. “My lowest private should be able to shoot a pistol and all the squad guns plus his M4 (rifle).”
The four-day FORSCOM competition features marksmen from the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and the National Guard in events for the M9 pistol, the M4A1 rifle and the M249 SAW, or Squad Automatic Weapon, to recognize Soldiers who are beyond expert marksmen. The multi-tiered events challenge the competitors’ ability to accurately and quickly engage targets in a variety of conditions and environments.
Master Sgt. Robert Mango, with the 9th Mission Support Command and the USARCMP, engages moving targets on the third day of the U.S. Army Forces Command Weapons Marksmanship Competition. (U.S. Army photo by Timothy L. Hale/Released) (Photo by Timothy Hale)
Sgt. 1st Class Joel Micholick, with the 9th Battalion, U.S. Army Careers Division, and the USARCMP conducts the Lumber Cut event on the third day of the U.S. Army Forces Command Weapons Marksmanship Competition. (U.S. Army photo by Timothy L. Hale/Released) (Photo by Timothy Hale)
Sgt. Joseph Hall, with the 310th Psychological Operation Company and the U.S. Army Reserve Combat Marksmanship Program, engages targets. (U.S. Army photo by Timothy L. Hale/Released) (Photo by Timothy Hale)
Registration is open for 2017 U.S. Army Small Arms Championship. Event is scheduled for March 12-18 2017.
Members of the U.S. Army Reserve Competitive Marksmanship Program will represent the Army Reserve at the FORSCOM Small Arms Championship, 7-10 November 2016. Three different categories events involve Machine Gun, Rifle, and Pistol shooting. Three champion marksmen are representing the Army Reserve and USARCMP:
SFC Joel Micholick, ARCD (Machine Gun)
SGT Joseph Hall, USACAPOC (Rifle)
MSG Rob Mango, 9th MSC (Pistol)
At Camp Butner, North Carolina Captain(p) Samuel Freeman shot a 998-43x in the North Carolina State Championship in the 1000 point aggregate match with a Service Rifle.
The course of fire was an 80 round Regional Course (20 rounds per stage) with an additional 20 round 600 yards for record, working out to two complete National Match Courses.
Line scores were:
Sitting rapid 200-8x
Prone rapid 199-9x
600 yards prone 200-11x and 200-5x
For a total 998-43x with a Service Rifle, the equivalent of shooting two 499 NMC scores back to back.
For point of reference, the current NRA National Record for a 100 Shot Regional Course shot with a Match Rifle is 999-67x, putting CPT Freeman with his Service Rifle one point away from the best ever 1000-point aggregate score.
100 Shot Regional Course – Metallic Sights – 999-67
A notable Army Marksmanship Unit shooting champion and coach adds:
That record is a Service “Category” record, meaning that Service relates to the category of the shooter, not the type of rifle. Sherri Gallagher shot her score with a Match Rifle (Tubb gun chambered in .260). The previous record of a 998-52x? (not sure of x’s) was fired by Eric England, a Marine shooter. He used a model 70 match rifle in .30-’06. I’m 100% certain that Freeman’s score is the highest ever in that course of fire with a Service Rifle. The InterService record is “only” a 995.
– Emil Praslick
Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association hasn’t bothered to update this or formally list this accomplishment among the other national records.
USAR shooter accomplishments at the Canadian Armed Forces Skill at Arms Concentration
Two-Gun Individual Aggregate
SSG Chris Kizanis was first place overall in the individual grand aggregate, securing the win against all competitors from all participating countries. MSG Lance Espinosa made the top ten in the overall individual agg.
SSG Kizanis took first place in the grand individual aggregate.
For individual rifle, SSG Kizanis finished in the top ten overall in Match 11 and 17, and MAJ Conners finished in the top ten in Match 14.
For individual pistol, SSG Kizanis was third in the overall aggregate and MSG Espinosa was fifth. Matches 21-23 were the precision events with MSG Espinosa taking third overall, SFC Buol in fourth, and LTC Klawon making the top ten. Matches 24-26 were the surprise courses in shoothouses. SSG Kizanis finished second overall in this aggregate with SSG Chris Volmer taking third.
USAR Blue took first place in the Falling Plates event and third place in Match 36.
Two-Gun Aggregate, 2 USARCMP members in the top ten
Kizanis 1st place Overall Champion
Match 21, 3 USARCMP members in the top ten
Match 22, 3 USARCMP members in the top ten
Match 21-23 aggregate, 3 USARCMP members in the top ten
Match 24, 3 USARCMP members in the top ten
Match 25, 2 USARCMP members in the top ten
Match 26, 1 USARCMP member in the top ten
Match 24-26 aggregate, 2 USARCMP members in the top ten
Pistol overall aggregate, 2 USARCMP members in the top ten
Match 11, 1 USARCMP member in the top ten
Match 14, 1 USARCMP member in the top ten
Match 17, 1 USARCMP member in the top ten
Match 36, 2 USARCMP members in the top ten
Match 36 Team
USAR Blue, 3rd place
Falling Plates, 1st place