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    North Dakota marksmen excel in national competition

    North Dakota marksmen excel in national competition

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Army Sgt. Evan Messer poses with the medals he won during the U.S. Army Small...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs

    FORT BENNING, Ga. — The North Dakota National Guard’s best shooters have been competing against the best in the U.S. Army since Jan. 28 at Fort Benning, Ga. As they travel home this weekend from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s U.S. Small Arms Championship, or “All-Army” competition, they’re bringing home quite a bit of hardware, including a plaque designating the team as the third best in the entire Army.

    The advanced combat live-fire training event began with individual and team rifle matches, followed by a combined arms competition. North Dakota fared best in the rifle matches although the combined performance of the team in all areas propelled them to the third-place title overall. The team also ranked second overall in the rifle competition and fifth in the pistol competition.

    “Marksmanship is a key skill to being a soldier and airman, and the Guardsmen on our marksmanship team have taken that skill to a professional level,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. “Coming home with so many awards at such a high level of competition is a testament to their dedication, commitment and skill.”

    Part of the rifle team match included a 1.5-mile run while wearing complete uniform, gear and a full load of ammunition while carrying a rifle. Sgt. Evan Messer completed the run in 11 minutes, 3 seconds, and the rest of the team wasn’t far behind. All of North Dakota’s shooters completed the run in less than 14 minutes, said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Von Bank, who serves with the 119th Wing and helps coach the team.

    “[Master Sgt.] Brian Rook ended up finishing in 13 minutes, 48 seconds, but has the dubious distinction of being the oldest competitor [he turns 51 in July] and the only Air Force competitor shooting all of the events,” Von Bank said.

    Besides the team awards, North Dakota’s four shooters excelled in individual competition.

    Messer and Spc. Tyrel Hoppe, who serve with the North Dakota Army National Guard’s Jamestown-based 817th Engineer Company (Sapper), shot in the “Pro” class, which is reserved for shooters who have earned the Distinguished Badge in rifle or pistol. Messer was named the fifth best overall individual shooter out of all classes during the lengthy competition. He also earned first place among all Pro class rifle shooters, won Match 8 (which included the 1.5-mile run) as an individual competitor and took the silver out of all individuals competing in Match 7 (which used paper targets).

    Hoppe earned the highest score of all non-distinguished rifle shooters and was ranked the fourth Pro-class rifle shooter overall. He was named the 15th best shooter overall at the competition.

    Master Sgt. Brian Rook, who serves with the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Wing, and Spc. Christopher Lundberg, who serves in the 817th, shot in the Novice class since they were new to the competition.

    Both finished in the top 25 of all Novice class rifle shooters. Rook placed 25th out of all shooters in the competition and Lundberg came in 42nd.

    They rounded out the team of four, which was coached by Von Bank and Sgt. 1st Class Gary Varberg, a Distinguished class shooter who has brought home numerous shooting awards from around the world during his military service.

    Marksmanship is one of several competitive sports within the North Dakota National Guard that encourage teamwork and precision while enhancing key areas of military performance, such as shooting, combatives and physical fitness.

    North Dakota National Guard complete results

    Rifle Match 8 Novice Class
    Spc. Christopher Lundberg, 10th place
    Master Sgt. Brian Rook, 51st place

    Rifle Match 8 Pro Class
    Sgt. Evan Messer, 1st place
    Spc. Tyrel Hoppe, 6th place

    Rifle Team Match 9
    North Dakota placed third behind California and Maine National Guard teams. North Dakota’s team included Messer, Hoppe, Lundberg and Rook and was coached by Sgt. 1st Class Gary Varberg.

    Rifle Match 7 Pro Class
    Messer, 2nd place
    Hoppe, 4th place

    Rifle Match 7 Novice Class
    Rook, 11th place
    Lundberg, 31st place

    Rifle Match 10
    North Dakota placed third out of 27 teams that placed, with Arkansas National Guard and Maine National Guard placing first and second, respectively.

    US Army Service Rifle Individual Championship Match 30 – Pro Class
    Messer, 1st place
    Hoppe, 4th place

    US Army Service Rifle Individual Championship Match 30 – Novice Class
    Lundberg, 16th place
    Rook, 21st place

    Rifle Team Match 35
    North Dakota’s team (Messer, Hoppe, Lundberg and Rook) placed second behind the Maine National Guard.

    Rifle Match 321 – Pro Class
    Messer, 2nd place
    Hoppe, 5th place

    Rifle Match 321 – Novice Class
    Rook, 15th place
    Lundberg, 26th place
    Von Bank, 53rd place

    Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Match 321
    Messer, 2nd place
    Hoppe, 5th place
    Rook, 33rd place
    Lundberg, 53rd place

    Pistol Match 1 – Pro Class
    Messer, 10th place
    Hoppe, 12th place

    Pistol Match – Novice Class
    Rook, 7th place
    Lundberg, 12th place

    Pistol Match 3 – Pro Class
    Messer, 5th place
    Hoppe, 12th place

    Pistol Match 3 – Novice Class
    Rook, 15th place
    Lundberg, 34th place

    Pistol Team Match 4
    North Dakota (Messer, Hoppe, Rook and Lundberg with Varberg as coach) placed fourth behind Army Reserve Careers Division, Maine National Guard and Team California.

    Pistol Match 5 – Pro Class
    Messer, 3rd place
    Hoppe, 12th place

    Pistol Match 5 – Novice Class
    Von Bank, 15th place
    Rook, 24th place
    Lundberg, 38th place

    US Army Service Pistol Team Championship
    North Dakota placed fifth behind Maine National Guard, Army Reserve Careers Division, Team California and United States Army Special Operations Command.

    US Army Service Pistol Championship Match 20 – Pro Class
    Messer, 5th place
    Hoppe, 12th place

    US Army Service Pistol Championship Match 20 – Novice Class
    Rook, 11th place
    Von Bank, 18th place
    Lundberg, 26th place

    Pistol Match 6
    The North Dakota National Guard placed sixth behind United States Army Special Operations Command, Maine National Guard, Team California, Army Reserve Careers Division and Arkansas National Guard.

    Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Match 221 – Pro Class
    Messer, 5th place

    Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Match 221 – Novice Class
    Rook, 11th place
    Von Bank, 17th place
    Lundberg, 32nd place

    Pucket Trophy High Novice Excellence-in-Competition Match 621
    Rook, 9th place
    Lundberg, 23rd place
    Hoppe, 13th place



    Date Taken: 02.08.2013
    Date Posted: 02.10.2013 15:42
    Story ID: 101761
    Location: FORT BENNING, GA, US 

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