News: Okinawa first to host Division Matches under reconstructed Competition in Arms program
Story by Lance Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
By Lance Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
III Marine Expeditionary Force PAO
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan, -- More than 120 Marines on Okinawa competed Feb. 19-21 on Camp Hansen in the first Division Match marksmanship competition since the Marine Corps completely revamped its Competition in Arms program.
The 106-year-old program, which is intended to provide skilled and experienced marksmen to support a productive training program and promote success in battle, recently underwent its first major reconstruction since its inception, according to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Billy R. Williamson, the division matches representative for the commandant of the Marine Corps.
The structure of the competition's four featured events - the individual rifle and pistol matches and the rifle and pistol team matches - was changed to better emulate how Marines fire their weapons in combat, according to Chief Warrant Officer Mark W. Clark, the officer-in-charge of Marine Corps Base Camp Butler range control.
"The purpose of the old course was to help improve Marines' marksmanship skills," Clark said. "This course is something completely new. The Division Matches now give Marines more experience shooting how they would in combat."
Marines competing in Division Matches in the past were allowed to use leather slings and shooting jackets. The newly-revised competition requires Marines to wear flack jacket and Kevlar helmet and use a three-point sling.
Rifle competitors now start shooting from the furthest distance and move closer, engaging targets at 500, 300, 200 and 50 yards. Pistol competitors start engaging targets at 25 yards and move up to the 15- and then 7-yard lines. The new structure allows Marines to continually fire, Clark said.
"These Marines are learning better ways to apply the fundamentals in combat situations," Williamson said.
The individual match winners in both the rifle and pistol competitions were first-time competitors, or Tyros.
"I can't ever remember when two Tyros took both individual competitions before," Williamson said. "It's not a normal thing."
Sgt. Geoffrey R. Furgason, with the MCB team, won the individual pistol match, scoring 768 points out of a possible 800 with 29 center shots.
Lance Cpl. Brian C. Bussing, with the 9th Engineer Support Battalion team, won the individual rifle match, scoring 229 points out of a possible 280 with 18 center shots.
Both gold medal winners will receive the M-1 Garand Secretary of the Navy Trophy Rifle.
Marine Corps Base won both the rifle and pistol team competitions for the second year in a row. The rifle team scored 445 points out of a possible 560 in the rifle matches and 1,514 points out of a possible 1,600 in the pistol matches. They received the Lloyd Trophy and the Shively Trophy for their victories.
The top 10 percent of the competitors earned a chance to compete in the Marine Corps Matches at MCB Camp Lejeune, N.C.
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