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    Mountain Warriors Dominate FORSCOM Marksmanship Competition

    2018 FORSCOM Small Arms Competition

    Photo By Sgt. Brian Stephenson | U.S. Army 1st Lt. Spencer Ellis, assigned to 10th Mountain Division, clears his M17...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Ed Robles 

    1st Brigade Combat Team,10th Mountain Division (LI)

    FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Nov 11, 2018) -- The 10th Mountain Division’s marksmanship team, comprised of 1st Brigade Combat Team Soldiers, went beyond the basics of steady breathing, site alignment and trigger pull when they dominated the annual U.S. Army Forces Command Marksmanship Competition, Oct. 22-26, at Fort Bragg, N.C. The “Warrior Brigade” top guns won two of three individual weapons titles and defeated all active duty Army teams, finishing second overall. First Lieutenant Spencer Ellis, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, and Pfc. Dalton Hall, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, won the M17 pistol and M249 light machine gun marksman titles, respectively. Spc. Matthew Devall, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment represented the division's M4 carbine category.

    “This is a validation of what I worked hard for,” said Ellis, a native of Marion, Indiana. Ellis first learned the importance of marksmanship from his father, Samuel Ellis, during childhood hunting trips in Wyoming.

    “It was good father and son time,” said Ellis. “My father would say ‘respect your weapon and don’t point it at anything you don’t intend to kill or destroy.’ ”

    His father’s advice inspired a passion for marksmanship that led Ellis to join the United States Military Academy’s Combat Weapons Team.

    “As an infantry officer, being a member of that team was one of the best influences on my life,” said Ellis.

    Fast forward to his assignment at 1BCT, 10MTN DIV, where Ellis and Hall won the division’s competition and were temporarily attached to Fort Drum’s Light Fighter School to prepare for the FORSCOM event.

    “My battalion’s training and Light Fighter School coaching took me to the next level,” said Hall. “I never shot a machine gun before coming to Fort Drum, and now everyone knows I’m not your average SAW (squad automatic weapon) gunner.”

    “Competition is important because it breeds excellence,” said Staff Sgt. John Brady, Division Competitions noncommissioned officer in charge, Light Fighter School, 10MTN DIV. “Our primary job is to close in and destroy the enemy. This skillset is not just for competition’s sake. It’s for us to be more lethal on the battlefield.”

    Ellis and Hall attributed their victories to Brady’s intense, well rounded two-month training regimen.

    “Beating out tough divisions like 101st Airborne, 82nd Airborne and 1st Cavalry feels great,” said Hall. He also recalled narrowly defeating a competitor who wore a Governors Twenty tab. The tab distinguishes guardsmen who are among the top 20 marksmen in their state. “He was right on me, but I kept hitting my targets and held him off."

    The event lanes were designed to put competitors through stressful battle conditions.

    “The CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense) day shoot was the toughest,” said Hall. “My head was canted at a 90 degree angle and my weapon was canted at 45 degrees just so I could aim through my pro mask.”

    “The shoot house was my favorite part of the competition,” said Ellis. “It had six to seven rooms of armed bad guy targets and unarmed innocents. We had to be mentally quick and think on our feet in order to stand a chance in there.”

    Both Soldiers highlighted the importance of meeting competitors throughout FORSCOM.

    “It was great to branch out and immerse ourselves with like-minded competition,” said Ellis.

    Opponents learned that 1BCT, 10MTN DIV provides marksman that are among the Army-wide favorites to win at the U.S. Army Small Arms Competition in March.

    “These FORSCOM wins show that 10th Mountain Division is leading the way in marksmanship across the Army,” said Brady.

    “The bottom line is lethality,” said Pfc. Hall. “When we’re deployed we need to be great marksman to fight for our buddies at our right and left.”

    That bottom line is an integral part of 1BCT’s “Climb to Glory” and why their war-trained Soldiers always rise “To the Top.”



    Date Taken: 11.11.2018
    Date Posted: 11.11.2018 05:30
    Story ID: 299530
    Location: FORT DRUM, NY, US 

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