By Sgt. 1st Class Julius Clayton October 20, 2016
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Oct. 20, 2016)--Three former Soldiers were inducted into the 2016 U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Hall of Fame during a ceremony Oct. 15 at Hook Range.
The induction ceremony occurred the second day of a two-day, 60th USAMU Reunion.
Inductees were former Sgt. 1st Class Todd Graves, a four-time Olympian who won a bronze medal for skeet in 2000 as a member of the USAMU; retired Master Sgt. Martin Edmondson, a two-time U.S. Olympian; and Vietnam sniper and former Staff Sgt. Arpail "Joe" Gapol, a three-time President's Match winner.
All represented a wide array of experiences and competitive shooting success.
"The Army allowed me to fulfill my dream of winning an Olympic medal," said Graves, who's Olympic career spanned four consecutive teams from 1992-2004 and who is currently the USA Shooting shotgun coach.
Graves also won 16 individual World Cup medals, of which six are gold, and three National Championships with five national records.
Graves added that his induction into the USAMU Hall of Fame is definitely the icing on the cake of his military career.
Edmondson, who passed away in December 2015 and was represented at the induction ceremony by his son David, also a former USAMU member, competed on two U.S Olympic shooting teams.
Additionally, Edmondson was a USA Shooting coach for four U.S. Olympic shooting teams between 1988 and 2000.
"Shooting was what he did--he loved the AMU and he loved shooting and he definitely passed that on to his children as well," David said about his father's passion for sport shooting.
Gapol won numerous major tournaments during his shooting career, including back-to-back All Army Championships in 1972 and 1973.
He also employed his sniper skills in combat, volunteering for three Vietnam tours of duty from 1966 through 1972, earning numerous medals for valor.
"It is a great honor to be here and be inducted into the AMU Hall of Fame, and I want to thank everyone who helped get me into the Hall of Fame," Gapol said.
USAMU Commander Lt. Col James Barrows said the three marksmen were being recognized not only for what they did for the unit, but what they did for the U.S. Army and their country.
Hall of Fame guest speaker and former USAMU commander, retired Col. Lory "Mac" Johnson said the three inductees had one thought when they awoke everyday as members of the USAMU: "What can I do today to be the best in the world at what I do?"
Johnson was instrumental during his time in command in laying the foundation for several programs that have had a lasting impact on U.S. Army competitive shooting. Among those were the USAMU Hall of Fame and the Military Marksmanship Association (MMA).
The MMA conducts the Hall of Fame balloting, which is voted on by the full MMA membership. The MMA Hall of Fame is a bi-annual event during USAMU reunions.
USAMU was established in March 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to raise the U.S. Army marksmanship standards. USAMU is comprised of five shooting sections utilizing world class facilities for both training and competition. USAMU shooters are renowned as the "best in the world," and USAMU is known as "The Home of Champions."
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.