By Sgt. 1st Class Phillip EugeneJuly 10, 2015
QUANTICO, Va. (July 10, 2015) -- A Soldier with the Army Reserve took top honors at the 54th annual Interservice Rifle Team Championship.
Capt. Samuel Freeman, who earned the title of overall individual winner, and also took home the Lt. Col. C.A. Reynolds Memorial trophy, credits his success to an ability to train at a high-levels during a short periods of time.
"I might practice once during the course of a week and might not get to practice for another three weeks," said Freeman, commander of D Company 3rd/518th Basic Combat Training Battalion.
Freeman was among the nearly two dozen Army Reserve Soldiers competing in the 15-match shooting tournament at Marine Corps Base Quantico, which hosted service members from the active Army, National Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy, June 24 to July 1, 2015.
"To come out here and beat these guys who do this day in and day out ... is more of a blessing than an honor," he said.
The team won first-place trophies for the Marine Corps Combat Development Center event, and a 10-man match event. They also won a second-place High Reserve trophy.
Freeman and his teammates travel across the country to help Army Reserve Soldiers hone their marksmanship skills.
The officer in charge, Lt. Col. Jon Casillas, assigned to the 416th Theater Engineer Command, said the team is an asset to the Army Reserve because each competitor is a trained instructor who can train other Soldiers and keep the force combat ready.
Sgt. Kristoffer Friend, who won the Army match during this year's event, increased the qualification rate of a combat support hospital he was previously assigned to by 30 percent after sharing his expertise on the range. The psychological operations specialist, currently assigned to U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, said the shooting skills he learns during competition goes beyond the contents of the training manual.
"Being able to take what I learn and use it to better train the average Soldier is immeasurable," said Friend, who's also an athletic trainer as a civilian. "I have a lot of fun with it, and who doesn't like to get paid to go shoot?"
Barbara Sisson, assistant chief of the Army Reserve, who was on site for the final day of the competition, was impressed with the team's marksmanship and leadership skills.
"It's everything I would've expected from an award-winning Army Reserve rifle team," Sisson said. "Knowing that they are continuing to hone their skills, and will then bring them back to improve the force makes competitions like this extremely valuable."
Master Sgt. Norman Anderson, an Active Guard and Reserve retention noncommissioned officer assigned to 4th Battalion Army Reserve Careers Division, who some team members refer to as the Michael Jordan and Dale Earnhardt of rifle marksmanship, took first place in the Special 600 match.
"True military marksmanship is the single most important skill any Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine can have," Anderson said.
The Interservice Rifle Championship tournament is intended to promote the Competition-in-Arms Program, and is made up of individual and team events that challenge competitors at distances ranging from 200 to 1,000 yards. The competition is also a precursor to the 2015 National Trophy Rifle Match at Camp Perry, Ohio, in July and August.