By Michael Molinaro, U.S. Army Marksmanship UnitAugust 1, 2011
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (Army News Service, Aug. 1, 2011) -- Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit's Service Rifle platoon dominated their fellow servicemembers at the 50th Interservice Rifle Championships, July 17-26, proving once again that the premier marksmen in the military serve in the Army.
Despite the determination of the other services to dethrone the defending champions, the Soldiers displayed their superior skills at the annual meeting of the military's best rifle shooters, winning 18 out of 19 team and individual matches.
The USAMU won the coveted 10-man Interservice Rifle team championship match.
Team shooters included Sgt. 1st Class Lance Dement, Sgt. 1st Class Grant Singley, Staff Sgt. Tyrel Cooper, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green, Staff Sgt. Joel Micholick, Staff Sgt. Daniel Peters, Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher, Spc. Kevin Trickett, Spc. Augustus Dunfey, and Spc. Amanda Elsenboss.
The team's coaches included Sgt. 1st Class Emil Praslick and Staff Sgt. Walter Craig, while Staff Sgt. Scott Grant Staff and Sgt. Nathan Verbickas were team captains. Cooper was the high individual shooter during the match with a score of 496-21x.
USAMU teams swept all team matches, including the Marine Corps Combat Development Command Commanding General Match, the Infantry Trophy Team Match, and the Interservice 1,000 yard Team Match.
Two USAMU Soldiers stood out individually at the championship. Cooper won his first overall championship after posting the high aggregate score for individual matches. He won the Navy match, Army match, the 1,000 yard match rifle, and the match rifle individual long-range championship to go along with his overall championship. He also won the Lt. Col. C.A. Reynolds Memorial Trophy for high score in the 10-man team match.
"This means a lot to me," Cooper said, who returned in April from an Afghanistan deployment. "It's my eighth year on the team and my first win. You've got a lot of guys here who have won it two or three times -- it's not easy."
The longest standing record at the match was broken by Micholick. He set a new match record in the 1,000 yard long range match with a service rifle, and also eclipsed a record that has stood since 1984 by scoring a new high in the long-range aggregate with the service rifle after scoring a 397-12x.
"Staff Sergeant Micholick did not simply break a record, he crushed the longest standing record in the history of the Interservice Rifle Championships, which stood for nearly thirty years and in perhaps the most difficult match -- the 1,000-yard long range -- with a service weapon," said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander, USAMU. "I could not think of a more fitting time for one of our Soldiers to establish this new record than at the 50th iteration of this Interservice Rifle Championship."
The Excellence-in-Competition Match was won by Staff Sgt. Armando Ayala.
Green, Verbickas, Trickett and Gallagher also won individual matches. Gallagher was crowned high woman shooter.
With the overall win, the USAMU swept all individual and team championships in Interservice competition for 2011, the second consecutive year they have done so.
The competition dates back to 1960, when the value of an interservice marksmanship competition was recognized in a memorandum of understanding by the chiefs of each service. The event highlights the professional capacity and versatility of military servicemembers.