CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y-- It was rainy. It was cold. But it was a good day on the range for members of the New York Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry and Massachusetts Army Guard's 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry.
The two historic Irish-American regiments squared off at the New York National Guard's Camp Smith Training Site on Saturday, Oct. 3, for the latest installment of their interstate marksmanship rivalry which got its start in 1936.
Known as the Logan-Duffy Match from the names of the unit commanders during the Spanish-American War -- Brig. Gen Lawrence Logan of Massachusetts and Brig Gen. Edward Duffy of New York -- the competition has stopped and started over the years, before being revitalized in 2010.
The 69th Infantry Soldiers won the cup in 2014 and repeated their win again this year.
At the end of the day, Operation Sgt. Major Tim Wiwczar from the 69th Infantry announced the final tally and that shooters from the New York Irish battalion scored 2,279 points, while their Massachusetts rivals had scored 2,067.
"The wins are always good you know, but this is about camaraderie between two great units, friendship and tradition," said Lt. Col. Sean Flynn, commander of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry.
The 69th Infantry is headquartered at the historic Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City, and has companies on Long Island and at Camp Smith as well.
"We have never felt more honored to train and compete than to do so here with the 69th hosting this match," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Wisneiwski, Flynn's counterpart in the 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry. "Our stories, our history, will only grow stronger," he added.
The relationship between the National Guard's 182nd Infantry and 69th Infantry and the origins of the Logan-Duffy Rifle Match began over a 150 years ago during the Civil War.
In July 1861, Colonel Michael Corcoran of the 69th Infantry, New York State Militia, rode out of Fort Corcoran, Arlington, Virginia, to visit neighboring Fort Cass. While there, he paid his respects to Colonel Thomas Cass of the 9th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The Fighting 69th of New York had met the Fighting Irish of Boston, and from this meeting was begun a regimental friendship that has endured through five wars.
During the 75th anniversary Massachusetts Army National Guard celebration of the founding of the 101st Infantry (the 20th Century descendent unit of the original 9th Massachusetts) in June 1936, Col. Francis V. Logan, the unit commander suggested to Col. Alexander E. Anderson, commanding the 165th Infantry (the name the 69th Infantry at the time from its World War I service) that a regimental rifle team be formed by each organization for annual competition.
The annual match would encourage competitive marksmanship with the rifle, the principal weapon of the infantry, and enhance and develop a spirit of camaraderie between the two military organizations of similar background and heritage.
The first match for possession of the trophy was fired in October 1936 at Camp Curtis Guild in Reading, Massachusetts. The match was won by the 101st Infantry. In 1937 the match was held at Camp Smith, near Peekskill, New York and the 69th Infantry emerged as the victor.
In the fall of 1940, both regiments were called to active duty for service in the coming World War.
The competition was reinstated in 1958, with the 101st returning the trophy to Boston.
The match remained an annual event between the 69th and the 101st until 1996 when the 101st Infantry merged with the 1-182nd Infantry to become the 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry (Mechanized).
Matches were suspended in 2001 due to the events of September 11th, with numerous overseas combat deployments of forces from both units. The annual competition resumed on October 2, 2010.
Sgt. James Pacheco of New Bedford, Massachusetts and a member of the 1st Battalion 182nd Infantry, has been competing in the revitalized competition since 2010.
"A lot has happened since then, but the skills of marksmanship never change," Pacheco said.
He is ready, though, for his battalion to take home the trophy next year, he said.
"We lost by two points last time so a win is in order," he added.
69th Infantry Soldier Sgt. Matthew Melendez, an East Harlem resident, who took the award for the highest scoring shooter during the match, said it was great just to be out shooting despite the rain.
"Competition brings the best shooting out of all of us," Melendez said.
Members of the veterans' corps of both battalions showed up for the match to lend support, as did New York Army National Guard Major General Harry Miller, the commander of the 42nd Infantry Division, in which both battalions serve.
The 182nd is aligned with the division's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and will deploy for training in 2016 to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. The 182nd and the 69th Infantry will serve alongside each other in the same brigade after nearly a century of friendly competition.
Miller praised the Soldiers for their performance and their service together. They may be competitors on the rifle range but they share the same Army traditions, he said.
"As infantrymen, this is what you do and I am proud of you," Miller said.