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    2024 TAG MATCH: BUILDING LETHALITY THROUGH COMPETITION

    Massachusetts National Guard TAG Match 2024

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Laura Berry | DEVENS, Mass. – One hundred nineteen members of the Massachusetts Army and Air...... read more read more

    DEVENS, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

    05.19.2024

    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Laura Berry 

    Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs

    2024 TAG MATCH
    BUILDING LETHALITY THROUGH COMPETITION

    Story by Laura Berry
    DEVENS, Mass. – One hundred nineteen members of the Massachusetts Army and Air National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and U.S. Air Force participated in this year’s TAG Match competition at Devens Reserve Training Area, May 17-19, 2024.
    The Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Competition is held annually to promote and provide marksmanship and Small Arms Sustainment training. Marksmanship and Small Arms Sustainment training are fundamental aspects of four out of the eight Elements of Combat Power: Maneuver, Firepower, Protection, and Leadership.
    The competition offers an opportunity to test the competitors weapons employment and marksmanship skills in battle-focused competition. This premier event is a task-driven training exercise designed to test and improve the capabilities of our National Guard forces in a tactically oriented environment.
    “What you do and how you train those soldiers and airmen behind you, is going to save lives,” said Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard.
    Each team at the TAG Match consisted of four competitors. All registered competitors (Shooters, Coaches, Captains, and Alternates) shot all matches except for the team match. Only MANG teams competed for overall Match Champion, Governors Twenty Tab, and MANG Small Arms Team OML (Order of Merit List).
    On Day One of the TAG Match, the teams competed at the "Special Zero Range" and rotated through the "They Won't Die" pistol range.

    Day Two brought a whole lot of rain, but the competitors forged ahead to participate in the Excellence in Competition (EIC) Rifle Range and Combat Reflexive Fire.

    Now over halfway over, the competitors, although a little drenched from the day, were prepared for one more day of shooting.
    Day 3 of the 2024 TAG Match was also a little damp, but it started with a bang as the competitors finished off the Match with the Phalanx Run and the EIC - Pistol Range. The teams then did weapons maintenance while the scores were tallied.

    The day ended with a visit from Maj. Gen. Keefe, to present the awards to the winners of his annual match. A special thank you was also given to Devens Range Control for their overwhelming support and of course the Massachusetts National Guard Small Arms Readiness and Training Section (SARTS) for all their hard work and preparation.

    Besides the ranges that competitors were expecting, one extra was thrown into the mix. It was known as the “Ricky Bobby Challenge”, using the Talladega Nights movie reference: “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
    The rules of the challenge were simple: Using their primary weapon (M4 Rifle or Berretta M9) at seven yards away, shoot two magazines of five bullets at the center of the target’s abdomen. Then switch to their secondary weapon (M4 Rifle or Berretta M9) and shoot two magazines of five bullets and employ all 10 rounds to the face. All of this in 25 seconds.
    “They had to be accurate, they had to have speed and they had to be volatile,” said Lt. Col. Graham Ward, TAG Match Director.

    Three competitors tied for first in the Ricky Bobby Challenge: Master Sgt. Charles McConvey, Sgt. 1st Class Mathew Leverone, and Staff Sgt. Nolan Kaldenberg.

    The 1SG Kevin A. Dupont Cup is awarded to the competitor with the top individual aggregate score of the match. A plaque with the Soldier’s/Airman’s name, rank and unit is fixed to the cup. The cup remains on display at Massachusetts National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

    Joe Cunningham, who served with First Sgt. Dupont in the Massachusetts National Guard, and whose son Thomas is currently deployed with the 181st Infantry Regiment, was invited to tell the Soldiers and Airmen of the TAG Match about him.

    “It’s an honor to come here and say a few words about my good friend Kevin Dupont,” said Cunningham. “First Sgt. Dupont, born in Holyoke, Mass., raised in Chicopee, Mass., graduated from Chicopee High School in 1976. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps as a rifleman and was trained as a sniper. During his six years on active duty with the Corps, he spent two years serving on the naval aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with time at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Camp Pendleton, California.”

    “First Sgt. Dupont began his career as a marksmanship instructor with the Marines, serving as a sniper instructor. He then joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard in March 1984 as an infantryman, and served in positions with varying degrees of responsibility, to include serving 10 years in the Small Arms Readiness Training Section (SARTS) as a marksmanship instructor for the Massachusetts National Guard. First Sgt. Dupont also worked full time for the Massachusetts National Guard Counterdrug program in Milford, Mass. since 1992.”

    “First Sgt. Kevin A. Dupont, 52 at the time, died June 17, 2009, of wounds he suffered on March 8, 2009, while conducting a combat patrol mission, when an improvised explosive device, struck the vehicle he was traveling in.”

    “That was the official bio,” Cunningham continued. “Now let me tell you about the Kevin I know. The Kevin all you Soldiers would have loved. Kevin had a tremendous sense of humor. He would always find something to laugh at no matter the situation. He was always that guy that kept up everybody’s morale. Every picture I have of him, he has that you-know-what-eating grin on his face. For a leader, and you as Soldiers know this, that is a great trait to have when the situation gets dicey. I never met anyone that knew him that didn’t have a smile on their face when Kevin’s name was mentioned. Secondly, he knew small arms inside and out and more than that, he knew how to teach and instruct those wanting to learn. Can’t speak of Kevin Dupont unless you mention his passion, his love for hunting. It was Kevin’s love of country and sense of patriotic duty, that let him to seek out a deployment with an external training team. Kevin was a funny, humble guy, a great Marine and Soldier. A true patriot. He perfectly exemplified what a Massachusetts National Guardsman stands for.”

    1SG Kevin A. Dupont, Massachusetts National Guard KIA June 17, 2009
    This June will be the 15th anniversary of First Sgt. Dupont’s death.
    The Governors Twenty award recognizes excellence in marksmanship. The award is a state-level award and as such, not all states have a Governor’s Twenty Program. Each state has wide discretion over the administration of the program.

    Specifically, The Massachusetts Governor's Twenty Marksmanship Award is awarded to the top twenty overall aggregate pistol and rifle shooters at the annual Adjutant General’s State Marksmanship Competition.

    The Governors Twenty Award consists of a certificate and a Tab, worn on the left shoulder of the recipient’s uniform on which is printed the words “Governors Twenty”.

    Top-scoring competitors at the State Match can advance and compete at the regional level and it successful there, at the national level where they would participate in what is known as the Winston P. Wilson National Matches at Camp Robinson, AR. There they would have the opportunity to compete for several additional awards such as the Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot awards, as well as the National Guard Bureau “Chief’s Fifty” award.

    Sgt. Marc Nickerson, of the 182nd Infantry Battalion, but currently supporting the Rear Det, 181st Infantry Battalion on Title 10 while the unit is deployed, shot with the “Hammer Medics” team. “Good training,” he said. “I didn’t do as well as I wanted to but it was fun nonetheless. I’ll be back next year. We will do some more training and more preparation for next time.”
    “This went great, with the exception of the weather, but if it ain’t raining we ain’t training,” said Sgt. Connor Gorman, of the 110th Maintenance Company. “We’re shooting, we’re having fun, we’re training at the same time. It’s a friendly competition. It encourages all that energy. People brought it this year, especially with the inclusion of the Phalanx Run which definitely took some names.”
    When asked: Is he coming back next year? “Absolutely, as long as they let me.”
    This year’s overall winner for the second year in a row was Staff Sgt. Brandon Jesus of the 379th Engineer Company. The overall Team Winner was Matador Skeet Club.

    SSG Brandon Jesus, Overall Individual Winner

    Matador Skeet Club, Overall Team Winner
    “I’m glad you guys had a lot of fun and I appreciate you coming out and doing these types of competitions that build morale,” said Keefe. “Thanks for doing it, thanks for being good at it.”
    Winners of the 2024 TAG Match are as follows:
    Overall Individual Winners
    1st Place SSG Brandon Jesus
    2nd Place SGT Matthew Rezuke
    3rd Place CPT Robert Sincoski
    Winner of the First Sergeant Dupont Trophy
    SSG Brandon Jesus
    Overall Team Winner
    1st Place Matador Skeet Club
    2nd Place Battalion Bang Sticks
    3rd Place The Rizzlers
    Excellence in Challenge - Pistol Range Winners
    1st Place SSG Brandon Jesus
    2nd Place CPT Charles Jacobs
    3rd Place 1LT Braiden Cipro
    Excellence in Challenge - Rifle Range Winners
    1st Place SGT Matthew Rezuke
    2nd Place SSG Brandon Jesus
    3rd Place CPT Robert Sincoski
    They Won’t Die Range Winners
    1st Place SGT Matthew Rezuke
    2nd Place SPC Alexi Orloff
    3rd Place SSG Brandon Jesus
    Special Zero Range Winners
    1st Place SGT Nathan Sharples
    2nd Place SGT Matthew Rezuke
    3rd Place SSgt Caleb Teats
    Combat Reflexive Fire - Rifle Range Winners
    1st Place SSgt Robert Cambra
    2nd Place SSG Brandon Jesus
    3rd Place SPC Charles Oberg
    Overall Individual Winner
    1st Place SSG Brandon Jesus
    2nd Place SGT Matthew Rezuke
    3rd Place CPT Robert Sincoski
    Phalanx Run Team Winner
    1st Place Battalion Bang Sticks
    2nd Place The Rizzlers
    3rd Place Blue Knights
    Novice Winners
    1st Place SPC Alexi Orloff
    2nd Place SPC Pedro Silva
    3rd Place TSgt Nicholas Frutasci
    Open Winners
    1st Place SSG Brandon Jesus
    2nd Place SGT Matthew Rezuke
    3rd Place CPT Robert Sincoski
    Ricky Bobby Award:
    MSG Charles McConvey
    SFC Mathew Leverone
    SSGT Nolan Kaldenberg
    Governors 20:
    SSG Brandon Jesus
    SGT Matthew Rezuke
    CPT Robert Sincoski
    SPC Alexi Orloff
    SGT Nathan Sharples
    SPC Paul Martin
    SSG Eli Hopkins
    SGT Richard Sawyer
    LTC Christian Paluk
    SPC Pedro Silva
    SSG Raphael Riordan
    TSgt Nicholas Frutasci
    Sgt David Newman
    MSG Charles McConvey
    SSG Kyle Meyer
    MAJ Patrick Alamed
    SGT Nicholas Ciaramella
    SGT Thomas Neill
    SFC Matthew Laverne
    SPC Renzo Vasconcelos

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.19.2024
    Date Posted: 06.03.2024 14:54
    Story ID: 472894
    Location: DEVENS, MASSACHUSETTS, US

    Web Views: 60
    Downloads: 0

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