FORT BENNING, Ga. - The best pistol shooters the Department of Defense has to offer are set to converge on Fort Benning this summer for the 51st Annual Interservice Pistol Championships, scheduled for June 11-18. Training and competitions are open to individuals and teams of the Armed Services of the United States, Reserve Components, and military academies and commissioning program.
The Army pistol team, made up of Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, won the service pistol team championship in 2009 and is primed to defend the title on its home turf. Sgt. 1st Class James Henderson, USAMU, won the individual championship last year and is among the favorites to claim the title as the best pistol shooter in the military for 2010.
"The Interservice Pistol championship is a great opportunity to showcase the best service pistol marksman in the DoD," said Cpt. Gavin Rice, operations officer, USAMU. "Service members have the opportunity to validate all of their training and hard work in a shoulder-to-shoulder competition."
Besides the top marksman from the USAMU, the Marines, Navy and Air Force annually send their finest sharpshooters to represent their respective services. The shooters will compete in center fire, .22- and .45-caliber matches, as well as an Excellence in Competition match. An awards banquet will close out the week.
While the bigger teams are training for top honors, smaller posts, stations, divisions and states are encouraged to send their teams to Fort Benning to compete.
"While the service teams shoot it out for the championship, smaller teams can also win awards and take home some bragging rights of their own," said Michael Molinaro, USAMU spokesman. "Marines enjoy sending their smaller station teams and beating up on the competition. We'd like to see posts, bases and stations such as Fort Benning, Fort Campbell, Lackland or Norfolk send teams and be represented during the match."
The week-long event not only is a chance for the competitors to bring out the best among one another but also share techniques that can be spread across the entire military, enabling it to be even more lethal than it already is.
"Competitions like this one foster an appreciation and respect amongst services as everyone continues to contribute to the Global War on Terrorism," Rice concluded.
For additional information, to register and check out the match bulletin, visit the USAMU website at under "competitions" or contact Michael Behnke, the USAMU chief of competitions, at (706) 545-7841 or