Son of USAMU Alum Walks in His Father’s Footsteps During Competition

By Lt. Col. Michelle LunatoMarch 26, 2024

ROTC Cadet Spends Spring Break Honoring His Late Father
1 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadet Mark Suggs, a Duke University ROTC cadet, competed at the 2024 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Moore, Georgia March 10-16. The annual, live-fire competition, commonly known as All Army, is hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which is where Mark's late father, Matthew Suggs, was stationed for years. Mark said he decided to spend his final Spring Break attending the popular competition in honor of his father. “He had a great time here and he spoke very highly the unit, and when I am here…I feel like he is here.” (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kulani Lakanaria) VIEW ORIGINAL
Son Competes at Late Father's Unit
2 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadet Mark Suggs, a Duke University ROTC cadet, competed at the 2024 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Moore, Georgia March 10-16. The annual, live-fire competition, commonly known as All Army, is hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which is where Mark's late father, Matthew Suggs, was stationed for years. Mark said he decided to spend his final Spring Break attending the popular competition in honor of his father. “He had a great time here and he spoke very highly the unit, and when I am here…I feel like he is here.” (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kulani Lakanaria) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAMU Alum's Son Competes at All Army
3 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadet Mark Suggs, a Duke University ROTC cadet, competed at the 2024 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Moore, Georgia March 10-16. The annual, live-fire competition, commonly known as All Army, is hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which is where Mark's late father, Matthew Suggs, was stationed for years. Mark said he decided to spend his final Spring Break attending the popular competition in honor of his father. “He had a great time here and he spoke very highly the unit, and when I am here…I feel like he is here.” (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kulani Lakanaria) VIEW ORIGINAL
Cadet Competes at Late Father's Unit
4 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadet Mark Suggs, a Duke University ROTC cadet, competed at the 2024 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Moore, Georgia March 10-16. The annual, live-fire competition, commonly known as All Army, is hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which is where Mark's late father, Matthew Suggs, was stationed for years. Mark said he decided to spend his final Spring Break attending the popular competition in honor of his father. “He had a great time here and he spoke very highly the unit, and when I am here…I feel like he is here.” (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kulani Lakanaria) VIEW ORIGINAL
Cadet Competes at his late Father's Army Home
5 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadet Mark Suggs, a Duke University ROTC cadet, competed at the 2024 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Moore, Georgia March 10-16. The annual, live-fire competition, commonly known as All Army, is hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which is where Mark's late father, Matthew Suggs, was stationed for years. Mark said he decided to spend his final Spring Break attending the popular competition in honor of his father. “He had a great time here and he spoke very highly the unit, and when I am here…I feel like he is here.” (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kulani Lakanaria) VIEW ORIGINAL
Cadet Honors Late Father at Marksmanship Competition
6 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Matthew Suggs when he was in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kulani Lakanaria) VIEW ORIGINAL
 Matthew Suggs and Bill Krilling
7 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Mathew Suggs and Bill Krilling (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Michelle Lunato) VIEW ORIGINAL
Cadet Mark Suggs Competes at All Army
8 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadet Mark Suggs, a Duke University ROTC cadet, competed at the 2024 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships at Fort Moore, Georgia March 10-16. The annual, live-fire competition, commonly known as All Army, is hosted by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which is where Mark's late father, Matthew Suggs, was stationed for years. Mark said he decided to spend his final Spring Break attending the popular competition in honor of his father. “He had a great time here and he spoke very highly the unit, and when I am here…I feel like he is here.” (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kulani Lakanaria) VIEW ORIGINAL

The U.S. Army Small Arms Championships is a widely popular competition among Soldiers across all components. Cadet Mark Suggs planned his final Spring Break from Duke University to compete at the 2024 ‘All Army’ not only to gather a week of live-fire marksmanship training, but more importantly, spend time at his late father’s Army home, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

Mark’s father, Matthew Suggs, was a distinguished rifleman himself. While earning his degree in engineering from the University of South Florida, Matt earned the title of All-American as part of the rifle team. It was after that, his career led him to commission in the U.S. Army and Matt became a successful shooter for the USAMU International Rifle Team.

Knowing his father’s 18-year shooting career, Mark thought competing at the annual, USAMU-led competition would be the meaningful way to honor his father who had recently passed away.

“He had a great time here and he spoke very highly the unit, and when I am here…I feel like he is here.”

Being his first All Army, Mark said he wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but found both the competition and USAMU instructors very helpful.

“What’s great about [All Army] is that I had the opportunity to come learn what the competition looks like, receive the feedback from the instructors and have something to work on the next year, or two years, if that’s how long it is before I return.”

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet said the hand-on experience and words of encouragement really helped him hone his marksmanship skills, especially when he was able to get instant feedback on his questions. Whether it was asking about holds on various distances or the best zero methods for different matches, Mark said he found everyone, even the USAMU Commander, Lt. Col. Casey Mills, very approachable and supportive.

“I’ve been able to talk to him and ask him questions on matters like that.”

Mills said he enjoyed seeing Mark at All Army, pursing a passion instilled by his father who was a member of the USAMU, and later, the Chief Executive Officer of USA Shooting.

“Mark comes from a family line of competitors. Most impressive was the fact that Mark chose to spend his final Spring Break from college here with us, competing and improving his skills. With that kind of initiative and drive, I have no doubt he will be a successful leader in our Army.”

As Mark prepares to graduate from Duke University in May, with a Bachelors Degree in Science with a concentration in biochemistry, he knows he will return to Fort Moore to do his Infantry Branch Officer Leaders’ Course. Eventually, he hopes to add Ranger School and Airborne School to his list of accomplishments here at the historic base.

However, being able to compete and just walk around the exact unit where his father spent so many years, means even more to the young cadet.

“Shooting here means a lot to me, and I know it would mean a lot for my father. I feel like I get to follow in his footsteps by shooting here. All these ranges, are ranges he used to shoot on. Krilling Range is named after one of his coaches, so it’s definitely a great experience to relive his legacy, even if he’s not around.”

So regardless of the marksmanship lessons and scores, just being at All Army meant the world, said Mark.

“Even if I miss all my shots and do terrible, I’ve got to see what my dad’s seen, and that itself makes this competition worth it.”