News: Arctic sharpshooters go to Fort Benning for Army Small Arms Championship
Story by Sgt. Michael Blalack
FORT BENNING, Ga. - A team of sharpshooters from 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, competed in the 2014 All Army Small Arms Championship at Fort Benning, Ga. Jan. 27 to Feb. 1.
With short notice that they would be competing, and bad weather closing the ranges, the team only had two days of shooting to prepare.
“We spent as much time as we could shooting from positions we don’t normally shoot from,” said Spc. Scott Nuth, a combat medic with Headquarters Company. “It was really a learning experience, being exposed to shooting styles that aren’t exactly textbook but have real combat applications.”
The team of five joined more than 220 soldiers to compete in rifle, pistol, combined, and multi-gun categories in four skill levels.
“The battalion commander knew that this was above all, a training event,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Harpster, a platoon leader in B Company, 1-24, “and wanted to expose good leaders to the event so they could pass this experience on to their guys.”
Harpster was joined by Nuth, a gun and shooting enthusiast his whole life, Spc. Troy Megee and Spc. Ryan Healy, snipers with B Company and Headquarters Company respectively, and Pfc. Jacob Jancoscko, a team leader in C Company.
Once at Fort Benning, the team practiced with other teams from all over the Army, sharing tips and techniques with each other.
“There were a few teams there, mostly [National Guard] or [Army Reserve], who this is what they do,” said Harpster. “Everyone was working together, teaching each other what we knew and sharing our experiences, we learned something from every team.”
In addition to practicing with other teams, classes were also available for the competitors.
“I actually learned a lot from the ballistics classes they had there,” said Harpster, who was recommended for the competition by his company commander. “Also the weapons maintenance techniques, how to calm yourself down after running, tips on zeroing your weapon, and developing a good pre-shoot routine, going through the same checklist of things every time before you pull the trigger, moving it to muscle memory.”
This was the team’s first time entering the event; they competed in the novice class against more than 100 other individuals.
Megee placed first out of all active duty specialist and below, and the team placed 18th overall out of 33 teams.
“Now that we understand the events better we can be a lot more competitive,” said Harpster. “Next year we’ll be in the open class.”