CAMP PERRY, Ohio (Aug. 03, 2016)--Soldiers competed in the 2016 National Trophy Rifle Matches July 22-29, 2016, winning and placing in several matches.
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Shoup, assistant team chief for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Service Rifle Team, said the 113-year old event is the most prestigious championship attended by military and civilian teams.
"When you come here, you're competing against the best," said Shoup, who has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq 13 times with the 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia, "Everyone works together at these matches to perfect the techniques of marksmanship."
Sgt. 1st Class Evan Hess placed second in the prestigious President's Rifle Match that was first fired in 1878. In the early years of this National Trophy Rifle match, the winner received a letter from the President of the United States.
Hess began shooting at 15 with a Texas junior shooting club, and two of the marksmen who helped train him when he was a teenager, Keith Stephens and Hugh Reich, finished first and third in the 2016 President's 100.
Stephens beat his former pupil by one X in the center of the bull's-eye target. Hess' and Stephens' scores were 393-17X and 393-16X, respectively. When scores are tied, the number of X's, or rounds that hit the exact center of the bull's-eye, determines the winner.
During the match, Hess relied on the fundamentals of marksmanship that he learned from his former trainers and then perfected at USAMU.
"I stayed focused on marksmanship, including sight picture and trigger control, during the President's One-Hundred," said Hess who was assigned to USAMU when he was 20. "We also have the best equipment available--our weapons and ammunition are top-notch."
The top 20 shoot-off concludes the President's Rifle Match to determine the overall winner, and six of Hess's USAMU teammates were also in contention, finishing in the following places: Sgt. Joseph Peterson fifth; Staff Sgt. Kevin Trickett, sixth; Spc. Ben Cleland, 12th; Sgt. 1st Class William Pace, 13th, Sgt. Augustus Dunfey, 15th and Spc. John White, 17th.
Junior marksmen shooting in the Nationals often join USAMU, and Spc. Lane Ichord, a former junior shooter, was assigned to the Service Rifle Team last year.
Ichord, who has been shooting since 2010, has already earned both the Distinguished Rifleman's Badge and the Presidents Hundred Tab that is awarded to the 100 top-scoring shooters in the President's Rifle Matches.
This year, he coached a California junior team, the Grizzlies Team Coalinga Rifle Club that won the Minuteman Trophy. This award goes to the highest junior team in the National Trophy Junior Team Match.
Other USAMU Soldiers who won titles included Dunfey. He won the U.S. Forces Command Rifle championship title for the National Trophy Individual-National Trophy Team Aggregate Matches.
Five other USAMU marksmen also filled in the top winning places in that match. Their placement from second to sixth, respectively were Spc. Ben Cleland, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Green, Staff Sgt. Kevin Trickett, Sgt. David Bahten and Staff Sgt. Amanda Elsenboss.
In the National Trophy Team Individual Match, Green was third overall among all military and civilian competitors and second against all active Army, Army Reserve and National Guard competitors. Dunfey was third against all active Army, Army Reserve and National Guard competitors.
Spc. John White was first in the non-distinguished ranking category of the National Trophy Individual Rifle Match. Marksmen must earn points and meet certain conditions before becoming distinguished shooters.
In the National Hearst Doubles Team Match, the USAMU team of Green and Dunfey was third.
All National Trophy Rifle Matches results can be viewed at the CMP Club and National Rifle Association Competition Tracker Results websites.
For more information about how to join the Service Rifle Team, visit the USAMU website.
Editor's Note: The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit's mission is winning national and international shooting competitions and advancing small-arms lethality to demonstrate Army marksmanship capability and enhance marksmanship effectiveness in combat. USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Brigade and Army Marketing and Research Group.