By Michael Molinaro, U.S. Army Marksmanship UnitNovember 21, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Nov. 21, 2013) -- Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit recently spent a week sharing their expert marksmanship skills with the nation's future leaders and competitive shooters.
Members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, or USAMU, Action Shooting team hosted the annual Action Shooting Junior Clinic at Fort Benning, then packed their bags for the Lone Star state and visited the cadets at Texas A&M University.
"From working with junior shooters to future leaders in our military on how to improve their marksmanship skills, it's been one of the greatest and most rewarding feelings I can say I've had in my military career," said Staff Sgt. Lee Dimaculangan.
The junior clinic's sixth iteration was among the best they have ever hosted, Dimaculangan said.
The event saw an influx of new attendees, as well as participants from previous years, who were eager to learn from some of the nation's best shooters. One of the reasons the camp was introduced was to promote the sport and, by seeing the new faces, USAMU Soldiers believe their efforts are working, he said.
Another major objective of the camp is to leverage the unique capabilities of the USAMU shooters to support Army accessions efforts, specifically through interaction with new participants and their parents. Program success was notable during the camp -- two of the instructors, Sgt. Shane Coley and Spc Matthew Sweeny, were recruited after attending the Action Shooting clinic.
"There was a lot of talent out here," Coley said. "When I came through the clinic all I wanted to do was impress the (USAMU) team and show them I had the skills and demeanor to be a competitive shooter on the team and serve my country. I saw that same intensity on a lot of the faces out here during the weekend."
After three days of showing juniors techniques on accuracy, movement techniques, transitions, reloads and an introduction to the rifle, three of the team members traveled to College Station, Texas, for a week of instruction with the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit.
"Being in the unit is an opportunity for each cadet to develop and use leadership skills," said Kevin Jimmerson, coach of the team. "As cadets are promoted within the organization they take on more responsibility and earn more of the credit for our success. Competition of any sort is its own reward, and the opportunity to compete on a national level and represent an organization like the 138-year-old Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M is an even greater challenge with greater rewards."
During the training clinic, the cadets spent four days on indoor and outdoor ranges with the USAMU instructors, Jimmerson said. Each of those days focused on different aspects of shooting, from fundamentals to advanced multi-gun moving and shooting drills, including a 90-minute lecture and discussion on the monumental importance of mental preparation and mental focus.
The majority of participating Cadets Marksmanship Unit cadets will be commissioning into the four branches of the U.S. Military in just a few short years, Jimmerson said. Besides the shooting lessons learned, what stood out was the impression made by the professionalism of the non-commissioned officers of the USAMU.
"The cadets on the team were all extremely impressed with not just the shooting ability of the USAMU Soldiers, but their ability to teach, to coach and to communicate their skills in a simple and concise way," Jimmerson said. "I don't think any of them were prepared for the skill level of the USAMU Soldiers, or the very professional manner in which they conducted the training clinic."
After the week of instruction, the Soldiers were guests of the Corps at the Texas A&M football game, before heading back to Fort Benning. The opportunity to pass along their skills to such a range of shooters on many different levels of experience left them feeling satisfied with what they accomplished that week.
"There were two things I took away from our week -- junior shooters are the future of our sport, and it is vital to train our future leaders at their infancy," Dimaculangan said. "It's very gratifying to be involved and making an impact in their futures."
The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Brigade, Army Marketing and Research Group and is tasked with enhancing the Army's recruiting effort, raising the standard of Army marksmanship and furthering small arms research and development to enhance the Army's overall combat readiness.