EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Staff Sgt. Aaron Cobosco recently achieved his goal of earning the prestigious President’s Hundred tab by scoring in the top 100 of military and civilian shooters in the President's Pistol and President's Rifle Matches.
The President’s Hundred tab began with the National Rifle Association’s President’s Match in 1878 as a marksmanship competition modeled after the British Queen’s Match. The national matches have been held at Camp Perry since 1907 and it was renamed The President’s Hundred in 1957. The average attendance is around 1,000 competitors, both military and civilian, with the 100 top-scoring marksmen recognized each year.
Cobosco explained that he’s had the goal of earning the President’s Hundred tab since seeing it on the uniform of one of his mentors, retired Col. J.R. Treharne.
“[Treharne] had explained what it was and the immense amount of time and training it takes to reach that level of shooting skill,” remembered Cobosco. “I made it a goal of mine to earn my own and I set milestones for myself.”
One of those milestones was to earn his distinguished rifleman badge, which he did in 2018. That same year, Cobosco won the Wisconsin state service rifle championship but fell short of earning the President’s Hundred. Though he missed out on the national matches in 2019-2021 due to a deployment and military school, Cobosco did not give up on his goal.
“Throughout that winter [of 2022] I decided to increase the amount I dry fired in the off-season to three times a week shooting a full course of fire, and then in the spring I shot every match that I could,” explained Cobosco. “I earned my President’s Hundred tab this year, taking 42nd place with a score of 291 out of 300. After earning my tab, I decided that my new goal is to train to take 1st place which I do not believe anyone from Wisconsin, civilian or military, ever has.”
His training journey all began with being selected to represent Wisconsin on a military skills at arms competition in Canada for the medical portion of the competition. Part of the competition was a team unknown distance shooting event in which everyone had to shoot once. Cobosco’s teammates, who were all infantrymen, decided he should shoot first and once he missed, they would take over.
“I shot all our targets with a Canadian C7, which is like our M16, which meant my teammates had to shoot at the berm downrange,” said Cobosco. “Because of this, I was asked to shoot a regional match for the Wisconsin state combat team. I shot on the combat team for several years until I transitioned to the more precise service rifle.”
In 2017 Cobosco was asked to try out for the All Guard service rifle team, which is the National Guard Bureau’s team that pulls the best shooters from all the states and territories. He was selected and started shooting with them in 2018.
“The All Guard team gives me a lot of support that includes ammunition and other equipment that I didn’t have yet,” elaborated Cobosco. “My teammates are some of the best and most gifted shooters in the nation who have helped me refine my skillset to get to where I am today. The relationships that I have made through my shooting career are also some of the strongest that I have, and I have had the opportunity to learn from so many of these people including kids that compete.”
One of Cobosco’s favorite things is teaching, which ties into all of his marksmanship experience. Every year the All Guard team helps the Army Marksmanship unit teach a small arms firing clinic put on at Camp Perry. At his unit, he enjoys teaching soldiers how to use their individual weapon systems along with some of the functional things that most are never shown during their time in the Army.
“I can bring my knowledge of marksmanship to the soldiers in my unit and help them become more skilled shooters,” explained Cobosco. “For the military, being able to make good shots increases lethality, and lethality increases survivability.”
Cobosco currently lives in Menomonie, WI with his wife Elizabeth, and their two kids, Gideon (8) and Arlo (4). He graduated from Eau Claire North High School in 2006.
“My family is the foundation of me being able to compete at the level I do,” reflected Cobosco. “My wife and kids sacrifice so much time when I am away. They have been very supportive and one of my favorite things is sharing my adventures with my children.”
Cobosco has been with the Wisconsin National Guard for 14 years, enlisting as a Combat Medic Specialist in 2009 and accepting a full-time position with the WIARNG in 2013. Cobosco is also trained as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, Infantryman, and Unit Supply Specialist. He currently serves as the Supply Non-Commissioned Officer with 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment headquarters company, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, in Eau Claire, WI.