FLORENCE, Ariz. - More than 170 service members from six states participated in the Marksmanship Area Counsel VII Regional and All Weapons Weekend, here at the Florence Military Reservation, March 21-23.
In its 13th year running, the competition brings sharpshooters together to compete and enjoy a weekend of military marksmanship and camaraderie.
“This event is designed as a battle-focused training opportunity for current members of the National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Reserves, Navy Reserves and state college Reserve Officer Training Corps,” said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas McKendry, the match director for the competition. “Each Service is encouraged to send at least one team consisting of four members.”
McKendry also explained that if a unit is unable to provide a four-member team, composite teams may be assembled to represent battalions and above, so individuals can still compete.
“Anyone can come out and compete,” said Army Capt. Dennis Chamberlain, the officer in charge of the competition. “This is a friendly competition, and an excellent test bed to see where you fall in your peer group. You don’t have to be the best of the best. You get exposed to some top shooters in the region and learn from them as well.”
Army Lt. Col. William Waddington, commander for the 2-285th Assault Helicopter Battalion, said two teams from his unit competed for top shooters. “My unit has some of the top scores in Soldier performance across the board, so it stands to reason that my Soldiers are out here competing,” he said. “This competition takes us back to the Warrior Ethos – we don’t get the chance to train year-round in marksmanship, so this competition has many benefits.”
Soldiers and Airmen from Guam, Hawaii, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, California, and of course, Arizona competed for a variety of individual and team awards, including the Distinguished Shooter Badge. The top 12 shooters from the Arizona Guard were inducted into the “Governor’s Dozen,” an honor given to top shooters by the Governor’s office.
“I encourage all leaders to consider sending teams to this competition in the years to come,” Chamberlain said. “We have some of the best training staff here on this range, and this type of competition establishes quality training, and improves their small arms marksmanship so they can compete at a state and national level as well.”
The next competition is scheduled to take place in California. Specific location and date will be announced later this year.