Captain Horace Wayman Bivins

Captain Horace Wayman Bivins: America’s First Double Distinguished Marksman

Captain Horace Wayman Bivins

Captain Horace Wayman Bivins

The U.S. Army enacted a Distinguished Marksman program in 1884. In the entire 133-year history of the program, with tens of millions of Soldiers eligible to try, as of 2017 a total of 5,102 Army personnel have earned either Distinguished Rifleman or Distinguished Pistol Shot. Captain Horace Wayman Bivins was the first person to earn both in 1894; a Corporal at the time. Cpt. Bivins was also the first marksman to win three Army marksmanship gold medals in one year.

Cpt. Bivins had a military career that was so varied and full of adventure that early newspapers wrote his life’s account ‘‘reads like fiction from the imagination of a pulp magazine writer.” He was assigned to Troop E of the 10th Cavalry, which took a prominent part in the campaigns against Geronimo, Apache Kid, and other Indian chieftains of the southwest. While serving in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, Bivins was awarded a Silver Star from actions during the famous battle of San Juan Hill. A sergeant by then, Bivins was assigned to a Hotchkiss gun battery. With all other members of his unit killed or wounded, he single-handedly fired 72 shells from a Hotchkiss guns, which recoiled six to eight feet after each shot. His performance was all the more remarkable because early in the battle, he had been knocked out briefly by a slug that passed through an iron-plated hub of a gun carriage and hit him in the temple. President Teddy Roosevelt recalled of the action “I don’t think it an exaggeration to say that but for the timely aid of the 10th Cavalry, the Rough Riders would have been annihilated.”

Cpt. Horace Wayman Bivins, the first Double Distinguished marksman in United States history in 1894, was an African American. It would take more than five decades after this before Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was able to receive the same acceptance in baseball, as detailed in the film 42. Lieutenant Colonel Earl Woods, father of pro golfer Tiger Woods, served two tours in Viet Nam as an officer in the Infantry and Special Forces. While in college, Woods once was not allowed to play golf because of his skin color. In fact, the Professional Golfer’s Association of America (PGA) enforced a “Caucasians only” clause in their official published rules until the 1960s.

Army marksmanship programs trace their lineage to when General Philip Sheridan officially created the Distinguished Marksman class, as announced in General Orders Number 24, back in 1884. This was formalized by the War Department (predecessor to the current Department of Defense) in 1887. The original concept has been run continuously ever since. Marksmen participate in Excellence In Competition events and the top ten percent of the eligible, non-distinguished competitors are awarded “Leg” points at the event. Like the leg of stool or chair or the leg of a journey, a number of points have to be accumulated over the shooter’s lifetime for specific awards. The first leg is the EIC Bronze medal. After 20 lifetime points are accumulated, the Silver EIC medal is awarded. Once 30 or more points are earned, the shooter reaches Distinguished status. EIC events are held for rifle and pistol shooting and there are Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot badges.

These awards are more prominent than normal qualification badges and eligible for wear on dress uniforms. Like combatives, instead of Level 1-4 to recognize accomplishment, Bronze, Silver and Gold badges are awarded. Army marksmanship programs are published in Army Regulation 350-66 and 140-1, with the awards and their wear detailed in 670-1. While first started by the U.S Army, all branches of the Department of Defense maintain this program, as does the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for civilians. Distinguished marksmen come from all walks of life, even outside the military. The CMP maintains all master records dating back to 1884 in their Competition Tracker.

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Captain Horace Wayman Bivins: America’s First Double Distinguished Marksman


Ash Hess: Army Marksmanship and MMTC

SFC Ash Hess (ret.) was one of the primary authors of the Army’s new Training Circulars. He was asked to speak before a recent graduating class at Marksmanship Master Trainer Course. Here’s a link to his original post and the transcript. Bold highlights were added to emphasize important points.

Speach for the Marksmanship Master Trainer Course

I want to start off by saying that I am honored and humbled to be here. When SFC Chain asked me to speak I checked to make sure he was messaging the right guy because honestly I never expected to receive that message. I immediately, upon that confirmation, jumped at the chance to speak to the graduates of the Master Marksmanship Trainer Course 03-18.

You see, the people in this room, guests, cadre and most importantly the graduates are the future of Army Marksmanship. One would be pretty naïve to assume that anyone could stand here and say that we don’t have issues in that realm. Five weeks ago, you may or may not have agreed that we are a couple of minutes of angle off across the Army.

During the course, you have learned better ways to shoot and train, things you never heard of, and things you learned in basic training and lost over the years. You slaughtered some sacred cows and destroyed perpetual myths centered on our service rifle. You are now part of a relatively small group of people in the Army that have attended an Army level class on marksmanship.

Until MMTC unveiled, the last formal, Army level marksmanship training was basic training. Think about the thousands of leaders and soldiers that have done nothing more than execute what their Drill Sergeants taught them over their careers with no chance of learning more.

If you were lucky, you had the privilege of attending one of the many Division Schools like I ran when I attended MMTC in 2015. While these schools were awesome training, they lacked one important element that MMTC does not. Army-wide recognition. We trained people and when they left the Division, that knowledge was often met with “that’s great, but here is how we do it. ”

When you walk out those doors you are not facing that challenge of trying to sell your skills. You have the backing of the Infantry School. You also have something else that is near and dear to my heart. That would be TC 3-22.9. By now you have been in that book and if you wondered who the good idea fairy was, well, that’s me.

That book was written under this simple guidance “write the book you needed while you were instructing” The course I ran for 10th Mountain graduated 1600 students under my watch. 1600 people learned and executed great things and went back to their units only to be hamstrung by an old book. My team and stakeholders from across the Army, active and reserve, set out to make a book that supported not only everything we have learned in the war but something that would support good marksmanship techniques and most importantly, teaching techniques.

We not only vetted the book within the Army, but we brought in several professional instructors from across the industry. Many of them have been teaching every weekend for 10+ years as their primary income. These pros helped us streamline the message and cleared up wording to make it teach more effectively. Believe that these guys are on your side and want nothing more than effective American Soldiers. Many times, business comes second and they gave the Army things that people would pay a lot of money to learn.

In our research, we found some things. Our weapons aren’t bad for what we are asking them to do. All of you fired issued weapons from five meters out to 600 meters. The ammunition is good enough for what we are asking it to do. You guys know this as you got hits. If the weapons and ammo aren’t the problem, what is?

Is it the caliber of Solider? If that were it, it wouldn’t cover 40 years of marginal performance

Is it the number of rounds we fire? Could be in some cases but if SFC Chain and the cadre had simply said, “here is 100,000 rounds; blast away” without any teaching would you guys have seen the improvement you made the past few weeks?

We decided that is was WHAT we were saying and how we were saying it. We relooked what we were providing to leaders and instructors to teach. Here at Fort Benning, you can’t present anything that isn’t in a book. No matter what we wanted to teach, the book was the book. I think we made big strides on fixing that.

So that leads to what you guys learned here in MMTC. For those in the room, you were successful. Some were not. The difference is the message that the cadre challenged and graded you on delivering. You had to group to higher standards than normal, get more precise zeros and get hits beyond what many of you were used to. You also had to teach back things that improved your own performance. You not only learned how to shoot better but learned how to make others shoot better, which is the big picture.

This is how we are improving Army Marksmanship. No more will you leave a school and not be able to use the information provided there because a leader asks one simple question, “What does the book say?” The knowledge passed on to you from the cadre cannot be undermined nor argued with by those who have always done it one way. When you go back to your units and later your next unit, that knowledge will still be relevant.

I close with a challenge. I challenge you, the MMTC graduates to transfer all the knowledge gained here to four people. You may get more than that but if you can get four people to the same level you are the result will be astounding. You and your subordinates need to get the message out to 1 million people as they fire 400 million rounds next year. You now know how to get all the rounds you and your Soldiers are allocated and the best ways to use them. Those rounds will be fired, we hope, but the question remains are they good rounds or are they fired the same way we always have done it.

I thank you for all you are doing and you have my support in your continued efforts.

2018 AFSAM program

From Service Conditions-Combat Team OIC, LTC Scott D. Klawon

2018 Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting

Even if you are not on the list to go use this to train for those matches to prepare for the training / team selection event. We may be able to bring a few more based on funding.

2018 Dixie Match

2018 Dixie Match
April 13-15
Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club, Jacksonville, FL

The 2018 Dixie Match will feature a NRA Regional 2700 match with teams, NRA Distinguished Revolver match, CMP Service Pistol EIC match and CMP .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol match. New for 2018 will be a 10 meter Air Pistol Closest to the Center and 20 shot Re-Entry match.

Please refer to the match program for details.

Service Pistol New Shooter Training

New Service Pistol Shooter’s Guide

1. Arrive safely at Phillips Range, Fort Benning GA
2. Arrive on time and in proper team uniform (ACU/OCP)
3. Fire 2 x 900 matches each day using 22 caliber and Service Pistols
4. Learn the Bullseye pistol course of fire by practicing the sport
5. Fire 2 matches during the week for record to establish baseline scores
6. Evaluate new team members and provide them with feedback based on their performance
7. Provide future training goals and advice about equipment selection for this sport
8. Conduct yourself like a Soldier and represent the USAR with honor
9. Arrive back safely at HoR
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2018 South East Precision Pistol

Precision Pistol event information for the South East (Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida areas)
submitted by SFC Griffith

In an effort to encourage more participation and mutually support our neighbors – Ted Carter, Match Director of Jacksonville Regional and Florida State Championship Matches, Art Rozier and Tom Davis of the Georgia Regional and State Championship Matches along with us here at The Mid Carolina Gun Club have teamed up to offer the category winners at each other’s 2017 matches a 10% discount on their registration fees at the 2018 Regional and State Matches. We will be sharing our winners lists from 2017 and will offer the discount at our respective Regional and State Championships for 2018.

Would also like to do a little advertising for our friends to our west over in Georgia. The Georgia Regional Championship (Bulletin with Registration Form attached) will be held 6-8 April 2018 at the River Bend Gun Club over by Dawsonville, GA. Art, Tom and the rest of the gang at River Bend are building a great program and I hope you all will consider supporting their match.

The Mid Carolina Gun Club monthly Precision Pistol matches will kick off again on 24 March 2018 (monthly Match Bulletin attached). The range will be ready and we hope you will be too.

The South Carolina State Championship will, as in years past, be in June. This years dates are 22-24 June 2018 (Bulletin attached). It’s a great opportunity for yall to get dialed in and prepped for Camp Perry or just come out and enjoy the lovely South Carolina summer!

Mark your calendars for the SC Regional 26-28 October 2018 and get your hotel reservations made.




MAJ Gale H Boehnke

Gale Henry Boehnke, age 86, of Hebron, IN, passed away Friday, January 26, 2018. Gale was an Illinois Bell, Electronic Engineer retiree. He married the love of his life Krystyna on June 26, 1987 in Illinois. He proudly served his country in the United States Army Reserves. Gale will be remembered as a loving husband, father and friend.

MAJ Gale Boehnke

Gale is survived by his wife, Krystyna Boehnke; son, Doug Boehnke; daughter, Lisa Boehnke; and many other loving family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his son, Christopher Boehnke.

MAJ Gale H Boehnke (ret.) was a member of the USAR Pistol Team from 1970 to 1989. Gale was a true friend to many USAR Shooters, working behind the scenes to ensure that they received orders, supplies and pay. He encouraged us in our Shooting and Training performance and to hang in there while we waited on the Army pay system to work. He made visits to St Louis, to speed up pay when team members had reached the end of their rope. Gale will be missed.

A memorial service for Gale will take place Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at Rees Funeral Home, Winfield Chapel, 10909 Randolph Winfield/Crown Point, IN 46307, with Pastor Bob Burton officiating. He will be laid to rest at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, Illinois at a later date. Memorial visitation will be held on Thursday, February 1, 2018 from 12-3 pm at Rees Funeral Home, Winfield Chapel. For more information, please call 219-661-2600.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at