The Maneuver Center of Excellence, in partnership with U.S. Army Recruiting Command marketing and the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), is hosting the U.S. Army Small Arms Championship this week at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The Army marksmanship event allows Soldiers to compete with, interact with, and learn from the top marksmen from the USAMU and other units.
This year, the United States Army Reserve has four teams (16 Soldiers) participating in the competition.
“I love shooting,” said Staff Sgt. Liechar Velazquez, 382nd Engineer Company (Sapper). “We don’t get to fire our weapons as often as the active component does, but this competition gives us the opportunity to show that we are still just as trained and combat ready.”
“Many of the Soldiers that attend this competition are selected to represent their units at U.S. Army Small Arms Championship,” said Michael Buss, USAMU competition chief. “Most have gone through local and regional competitions to earn their slot for this match.”
The competition provides Soldiers with a platform to showcase their unit’s marksmanship skills while gaining notoriety for their command.
Buss said about 50 percent of the Soldiers participating this year are competing at the match for the very first time.
Participation in military- and civilian-sponsored small arms marksmanship competitions offers Soldiers the opportunity to refine marksmanship skills and compete against other military and civilian marksmen.
They can also earn superior marksmanship awards in addition to the Army basic marksmanship awards available through annual qualification standards.
“Participants will walk away better-trained marksmen with increased skills and understanding of marksmanship,” said Roscoe Castle, the USAMU program coordinator. “The challenging courses of fire allow them to fully explore both the capabilities of their weapons for themselves at ranges from 5 to 500 meters.”
Rifle and pistol marksmanship clinics, along with all ammunition, are provided as part of the championship.
During the Army Small Arms Championship, there is also a separate event, the Excellence in Competition (EIC) Program.
The EIC was implemented in 1884 by Gen. Phillip Henry Sheridan to recognize top marksmanship performers throughout the Army.
The program encompasses both rifle and pistol marksmanship skills and recognizes top performing Soldiers during competition. Soldiers may compete in up to five EIC competitions annually per weapon system; five matches with the rifle and five with the pistol.
The top 10 percent of highest scoring competitors in an EIC event are awarded credit points.
“Earning the distinguished shot badge lets other Soldiers know you are a subject-matter expert in weapons handling and control,” said Castle. “It also distinguishes them as being an above-average and lethal marksman.”
Fort Benning’s USAMU will host the awards ceremony for this event, providing awards to top performers during this competition.