An AAR from MAJ Cloft
Competition. The USAR International (Palma) Rifle Team had tremendous success this summer, we had nine shooters on the ground. Palma rifle competition is fired with a .308 rifle with metallic sights, we shoot at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Palma is considered an international event and we have three shooters on the US National Team Roster (Cloft, Anderson, Thuerer) hoping to make the 16-man squad for Australia in2011. There are three events at the National Championships; any rifle (any caliber and scopes), Palma rifle and service rifle. The USAR International Team focuses on Palma Rifle since it’s the only international event of the three categories at Camp Perry.
Individual Wins. This summer USAR Shooters qualified and WON EVERY shoot off for Palma rifle during long range portion of the Nationals, this is unheard of – quite fantastic. During long range in order to win a national trophy you first qualify by winning your relay (approx 90-100 shooters), then all the top four shoot shoulder to shoulder for the trophy with a large group of spectators watching the shooters. This adds some pressure and all our shooters rose to the top. This is a great method to equalize the environmental conditions between the relays since it’s often 2.5 hours difference between the first and fourth relay. SGT Eric Smith both his relays and then both shoot offs on the first day, unfortunately this new event doesn’t come with National Trophies yet so he was only awarded a medallion. The next day MAJ Dave Cloft qualified for and won the Andrus Trophy, the Edward D. Andrus trophy is a large bronze statue by Remington, depicting a “Scout”. The trophy was provided by the NRA Competitive Shooting Division, in memory of the previous Director, Edward D. Andrus. SFC Norm Anderson qualified for and won the Herb “Doc” Aitken trophy, this is an etched oval crystal supported by a walnut base. The etching is of the Palma eagle surrounded by the Palma wreath. MAJ Cloft was third in the Aitken. SGT Smith also won the Sierra Trophy and MAJ Cloft finished second. The Sierra Trophy is a large granite trophy on a wooden base. The trophy was donated in 1999 by the Sierra Bullets Co., to be used in the High Power Long Range National Championships. In the aggregate of the four days of Individual competition with the Palma Rifle SGT Smith was 4th overall, MAJ Cloft 5th overall.
Team Wins. In total three team matches were fired, and the USAR International (Palma) Team did well in all. We won the Bausch and Lomb Trophy for the high Service Team in the Herrick Trophy match. In the final Palma Team match We set a new USAR Team record. The match is fired with 15 shots at 800, 900 and 1000 yards for a max score per shooter of 450 points. e SFC Anderson served double duty as shooter and Coach, SGM Neal Dickey served as Team Captain. We shot a 1788-100X, MAJ Cloft had 449-29X, SGT Smith 448-24X, SFC Thuerer 446-24X and SFC Anderson 445-23X. MAJ Cloft and SGT Smith earned status in the NRA 448 Club for firing a score of 448 or greater on the Palma Course of fire. .
Way Ahead. I’d like to begin to grow the USAR International Team for the future. We dominated the AMU and all other services with the Palma Rifle, something . All shooters own their own rifles and hand loaded their own ammunition. I’d like to grow a 6-7 man squad that could represent the USAR at the Spirit of America, Mid-West Palma, US National and the Canadian National Championships yearly. There is a good chance that all four shooters might be invited to attend the World Championships in Australia in 2011 as part of the US National Team or Goodwill Team. The Palma Team is cheap, all shooters own their own equipment already. The only additional resources we’d require respectfully request would be loading components for about 12K rounds of ammunition and 30K rounds of Eley Tenex small bore ammunition to continue to have this level of success.
Of special note we didn’t plan on a USAR International (Palma) Team this summer. With SFC Thuerer deployed to Afghanistan we only had three shooters and MAJ Cloft and SFC Anderson were going to shoot as part of the US National Team. However, SFC Thuerer worked it with his chain of command and scheduled his mid-tour leave from Afghanistan to coincide with Camp Perry. He put a uniform on while on leave and paid out of pocket to represent the USAR and shoot with us. Without him we would not have had a USAR Team this summer. This is extreme dedication in my estimation. We had great support from the service rifle team who pulled targets and cooked some outstanding barbeque of us using our new trailers.
Dave Cloft, Major
Acting OIC USAR Rifle Team
Chief Commander’s Initiative Group