FORT STEWART, Ga. -- Soldiers with the 549th Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion, conducted an Excellence in Competition match at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Oct. 3, 2019.
The Army's EIC provides individuals a chance to win a marksmanship competition that is more than just a typical qualification. The competition also affords Soldiers a chance to better familiarize themselves with their primary weapons.
"This is the first time the EIC has been brought to Fort Stewart," said 2nd Lt. Alexa Hernandez, a platoon leader with the 549th MP Co., who served as the officer-in-charge on the first day of the competition. "This competition not only highlights the Soldiers' natural abilities in weapons handling, but grants them the opportunity for enhanced weapon proficiency."
Hernandez explained that military police officers routinely train with and carry their assigned weapons, but do not often get a lot of additional time to further proficiency.
Staff Sgt. Stephenie Fleming, a squad leader with the 549th MP Co. said, "It allows the Soldiers to re-familiarize themselves with their weapon and gives them a chance to fire their weapons in a way they don't typically; enhancing and challenging their skills."
According to one participant, the competition helped boost morale as well as competency.
"As MPs, we carry our M9 every day. That is our lifeline right then and there. If something goes down, we to need to be a good shot," said PFC Iliana Ruiz, an MP with 549th MP Co. "I feel the best way to ensure that is with a competition. It's also a more fun way to get the training in."
The EIC consisted of two main days of training: an M9 pistol range consisting of four tables - three in a standing position, and one using both prone and kneeling positions; and an M4 carbine range with several tables with different positions and distances.
"This gives the Soldier a chance to compete for more than just what they have to," said Hernandez. "As MPs we have to qualify on our duty weapons, but do not get a chance to go out and practice shooting or do fun events like this."
Competitors in the top 10 percent were awarded with the coveted EIC badge and they were not all just military police officers.
"Right now one of the ten percent is actually our medic. He is not assigned an M9 as his duty weapon. He comes to work, but does not usually get a chance to shoot like this. Now he gets an opportunity to have fun and get promotion points," said Hernandez.