The USAR Shooting Team is a powerful force multiplier that enhances readiness and saves money while improving training and earning positive publicity.
You’d be surprised how many people view the shooting teams as a good old boys club. They have no idea of the benefit and skill these Soldier-shooters are bringing to the Army Reserve. It’s like accusing an NFL team of being nothing more than a group of drinking buddies that play catch on Sunday afternoon. Outsiders to US Army Reserve Shooting Team fail to understand why such a team exists. Unless one has been involved in small arms training or higher level shooting activity, marksmanship experience is typically limited to basic qualification. Just as retaking the same elementary arithmetic test will never teach Calculus, marksmen need to evolve to gain proficiency. Shooting teams were established in enact this and provide other benefits as well.
Through the 1960s the USAR Marksmanship Program consisted only of an ad hoc Service Rifle and Serrvice Pistol Team that would be constituted as the Battalion, Brigade, ARCOM, and Army Area Matches were conducted. The All-USAR Teams would then compete in the National Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Perry and then disband. MG William Sutton, then Chief, Army Reserve, was a Distinguished Rifleman and strongly believed in marksmanship. During World War II he had to deploy cooks, supply personnel, truck drivers and other support personnel to defend his unit. He learned that it was important for all soldiers to know how to shoot well. MG Sutton and later CAR’s supported the USAR Marksmanship Program very well into the late 1980’s.
LTC Joseph B. Berry joined the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve in 1967 after a career as an Infantry officer, serving in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II and the Korean War. LTC Berry had shot on the All-Army Service Rifle Teams in 1955-57, was a Distinguished Rifleman and had served as the Executive Officer, National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). When MAJ Bruce Meredith, the OIC of the USAMU International Rifle Section, left Active Duty in late 1968 LTC Berry asked that he start an International Division for the USAR Marksmanship Program. MAJ Meredith championed the concept of year-round training and competition. The teams reaped the benefits and eventually a small nucleus of the top shooters were kept more active throughout the year and the USAR Marksmanship Program was a force to be reckoned with. After 1985 there was a major push towards training the USAR troop units, but the various USAR teams and individuals still continued winning their share. Politics and budget cuts finally took their toll. While only Service Rifle, Service Pistol and the Combat Team are currently being supported, and with no Army Area Matches to help bring new talent in, but the USAR Marksmanship program is still acquiring solid talent.