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    New York Soldiers, Airmen compete for Top Shot Honors

    New York Soldiers, Airmen compete for Top Shot Honors

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Michael Davis | New York Army National Guard Sgt. Corey Goodman from Seneca Falls, NY, a Soldier with...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Michael Davis 

    New York National Guard

    CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. -- In the U.S. military, your weapon is your lifeblood – and proficiency with it is critical not only to the success of the mission but also to the lives of those depending on you. From your first day of initial training to the day you retire, every military career is replete with firing, cleaning and familiarization of your weapon to ensure readiness and proficiency.
    The 2016 New York National Guard Adjutant General Marskmanship Competition takes that to the next level.
    An elite number of New York National Guard members were able to showcase their skills and talents during the 2016 Annual TAG Match held at Camp Smith Training Site. The competition brought together those service members who put in extra hours and seek out additional training to excel beyond the given standards.
    One hundred and nine New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, along with members of the New York State Guard competed in the 2016 TAG Match held at Camp Smith Training Site from June 3-5.
    Walking off with team competition honors and numerous individual awards was the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry.
    Captain Michael Sicinski took honors in the combat pistol competition with the battalion scoring highest as a team for the combat pistol shoot while Staff Sgt. Matt Melendez received the top slot in the combat rifle competition. Melendez scored highest for the overall individual award as well.
    The TAG Match is a three-day shooting competition that is comprised of four advanced marksmanship events: The Sgt. Henry Johnson Individual Combat Rifle Match, the Sgt. Reidar Waaler Team Combat Rifle Match, the Sgt. Thomas Baker Individual Combat Pistol Match, and the Lt. Col. William Donovan Team Combat Pistol Match.
    “We’ve had more competitors this year than in the last few years,” said New York Army National Guard Capt. Stephen Totter, a member of the 53rd Troop Command and the TAG Match officer-in-charge.
    This year’s total registration was up over 20% from last year, while the New York State Guard’s participation in the TAG Match nearly doubled.
    “It’s a great opportunity for us to have face time with guys that we work with, said New York State Guard Col. Ray Mechmann, commander of the 56th Brigade. “Getting familiarity with those that we could potentially be serving with during a domestic event will be a big help.”
    Registration numbers weren’t the only big change this year, competitors also faced a much different, and more tactical, course than last year.
    “We listened to the feedback from last year and increased the complexity of the event with more non-standard courses of fire,” said Totter. “There’s a 100-yard run and wooden hurdles on the course; we’re trying to simulate tactical maneuvers that would be used during a deployment.”
    New York Army National Guard Spc. Wellington Escofet, from the Bronx, N.Y., was excited to compete in his first TAG Match this year and was hopeful to not only win, but to learn new tips and techniques to improve marksmanship.
    “Getting tips from other competitors will make us better in the long run, said Escofet. “Win or lose, I know I’m going to get better just from being here.”
    New skill sets go beyond the solidarity of the Soldier. Once their own proficiency level improves, they can share that knowledge with their home units and, in turn, increase proficiency at the unit, company, battalion, brigade levels and beyond.
    “Competitors get a chance to learn from their peers and take that knowledge back to their units,” said New York Army National Guard Maj. Joseph Chodnicki, the TAG Match director. “For us, that is the definition of success.”



    Date Taken: 06.04.2016
    Date Posted: 06.06.2016 13:47
    Story ID: 200121
    Location: CAMP SMITH, NEW YORK, US

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