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TAG Markmanship Competition Tests CT, RI National Guard Members on Shooting Skills and Teamwork 
 
 
Sgt. Shane Peters engages targets at the East Haven Rifle Range in August. The TAG marksmanship competition is a combat focused shooting event exposing participants to both distant and close quarter battle. (Staff Sgt. Benjamin Simon, JFHQ Public Affairs)
Staff Sgt. Jerry Boffen, Joint Force Headquarters, CTARNG 

EAST HAVEN, Conn. – Soldiers and Airmen from several units throughout the Connecticut and Rhode Island National Guard came together to test their team and individual marksmanship skills during the Connecticut Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Competition at the East Haven Rifle Range here, Aug. 1-3.

In addition to being a competition with awards presented to top competitors, the event was also a combat focused shooting event which was intended to expose participants to both distant and close-quarter battle with the M16 rifle and M9 pistol, according to Lt. Col. Paul Thompson, state training officer, Connecticut Army National Guard.

The weekend-long match tested the participants’ shooting abilities with both weapons in a variety of scenarios. Depending on the particular event, the competitors were either judged individually or as a part of a 4-member team.

For instance, during one event each competitor was given a short amount of time (15-30 seconds) to draw their pistol from their holster and engage a target approximately 15 meters away. They were then scored according to the number and accuracy of the shots that hit the targets.

In another event, the competitors had to work as a part of a 4-member team, running 300 meters together to the firing line, where they then had to come on line together and engage several targets with their M16 rifles at a distance of approximately 25 meters. During this event, the entire team was graded on their ability to hit the targets.

The purpose of that event was to test the competitors’ abilities to shoot with an elevated heart rate, said Staff Sgt. Larry Davis, an automated logistical specialist, 1109th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group, CTARNG.

Davis, from Voluntown, Connecticut, said that he, like many of the competitors, participated in the competition as an opportunity to better himself and his fellow Soldiers. He also said his desire to participate stemmed from “a competitive drive and the pride involved in the chance to represent his unit.”

“This event is pretty cool because it’s not just a standard weapons qualification,” Davis said. “You get to learn different cool techniques, like shooting from the hip or shooting off-hand, which we can use to improve our shooting, and take that back to our unit,” he said.

“Everybody is having fun,” said Davis. “We’re getting to meet so many really great people,” he said.

This is especially true, Davis added, if we move on to further rounds of the competition.

The top two shooting teams two individual competitors qualified to compete in the Military Advisory Council Region 1 Combat Marksmanship Competition, scheduled to take place at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, Vermont. Sept. 18-21.

The MAC 1 regional competition will pit the Soldiers and Airmen against fellow military competitors from throughout the entire Northeast region of the United States for a chance to compete at the National competition at Camp Robinson in Little Rock, Ark. next April.

8/3/2014