Four New York Army National Guard Soldiers to Compete at National Competition

By Petty Officer 1st Class Stephanie ButlerApril 10, 2024

New York National Guard Soldiers compete in regional marksmanship match.
New York Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Robert Lamorte II, assigned to Joint Force Headquarters New York, loads rounds into his magazine while participating in the Marksmanship Advisory Council (MAC) Regional Match Championship at Camp Ethan Allen, Vermont on Aug. 20, 2023. Lamorte is the team captain for a four-man New York National Guard team that will compete in the Winston P. Wilson marksmanship competition in Arkansas, 29 April to 3 May. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Joseph Liggio) (Photo Credit: Spc. Joseph Liggio) VIEW ORIGINAL

LATHAM, New York -- Four New York Army National Guard Soldiers are set to compete in the Army National Guard’s annual marksmanship competition in Arkansas that runs from April 29 to May 3.

The Winston P. Wilson Marksmanship Competition, known as the WPW for short, and named after the Chief of the National Guard Bureau who established the national shooting event in 1971, takes place at the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

“It not only tests your marksmanship, it tests your physical ability and your soldiering skills and ability to prepare your gear properly,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Lamorte II, the team captain.

In 2007 the Guard marksmanship center re-evaluated the matches, and developed new courses of fire to enhance combat survivability and to evaluate the capability of Soldiers and Airmen to effectively employ their weapons,” said Lamorte, a member of Joint Force Headquarters operations section.

The rifle and pistol ranges the Soldiers qualify on replicate combat situations, he said.

“It’s not just going out to the range being comfortable, sitting down and taking a nice calm shot,” the Guilderland resident added.

The competitors are forced to adapt to the changing distances, multiple positions, and different appearances of targets.

The other team members are:

• Staff Sgt. Adam Crist, a Buffalo resident, assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment.

• Sgt. Craig Rowell, an Alden resident, assigned to the 152nd Engineer Support Company, 204th Engineer Battalion.

• Staff Sgt. Warren Solomon, a Lewiston resident, assigned to the C Troop, 2nd Squadron,101st Cavalry.

The four Soldiers have all competed in marksmanship competitions before. Because they all come from different units they all have different shooting experiences and methods, Lamorte said,

Lamorte, Crist and Rowell finished in second place in the eastern states marksmanship competition at Fort Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont in August 2023.

Lamorte competed in the Army Guard’s best machine gun crew competition in July 2022 and Crist took first place in the New York Army National Guard’s 2023 Best Warrior competition which involves combat marksmanship. And Solomon competed in the Winston P. Wilson competed in 2020.

“There is a lot of running and everything is done in full gear. You get to display your overall marksmanship skill as a Soldier,” explained Lamorte.

“You are wearing your full combat gear, your Kevlar, your load bearing gear, your battle belt, your water, your ammo and magazines. You are also dealing with the weather, which can affect everything from your weapons to visibility and stability.”

Just getting the chance to compete in the national competition is a big deal, Crist said.

" Knowing the caliber of competition that the WPW draws. I’m honored to be even competing, as that says something of itself," Crist said.

"But My goal this year is to improve in all aspects from the last time I fired each stage, and if I do that consistently, it will mean that I’m on the right track to eventually consider myself in the running to win in the true sense of the word,” explained Crist.

“As a Team, even just placing in the All-States competition would mean that the efforts of many across the state have been worthwhile. It would be huge for the State and even more so for the marksmanship program," he added.

Given the level of competition at the national event, winning would be a very big deal, Lamorte said.

“If we win the WPW we would be labeled as the best team in the country, and we could possibly be recruited to the all guard team which competes internationally,” he explained

“There are also some firearm manufactures and gear manufactures that donate prizes, there are a few matches that teams could walk away with some nice gear and some bragging rights,” he added.

“When it comes to marksmanship community, everyone is cool with each other, everyone is looking to help,” said Lamorte. You are competing against each other, but everyone is always willing to help, to share pointers. I have never met a greater group of Soldiers then I have in these matches.”