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Minnesota National Guard
Marksmanship tournament attracts best shooters in Minnesota National Guard

Sixty-nine Minnesota National Guard Soldiers gathered at Camp Ripley July 16 and 17 to participate in the 2011 Minnesota National Guard State Marksmanship Sustainment Exercise  The two-day event, comprised of four individual rifle, two individual pistol, and three aggregate matches, is an annual event designed to pit each unit's top marksmen against others throughout the state   

Highlighted by the Excellence in Competition in Rifle and Pistol Matches, Soldiers had the opportunity to win 'leg' points toward distinguished designation  The highest marksmanship badges in the Army, a Soldier must accumulate 30 EIC points, or 'legs', to be awarded the Distinguished Rifleman or Distinguished Pistol Shot badges   Competitors in the State Marksmanship Sustainment Exercises are eligible for 4 EIC points in pistol and rifle, with the top 10 percent of competitors receiving their Bronze EIC badge

All Saturday was spent at the A-1 Known Distance range with competitors completing a quick rifle zero confirmation, followed by four consecutive matches  Competitors fired a 300-yard feedback match, a known distance rifle qualification match, reflexive fire match, and the Combat Rifle Excellence in Competition Match beginning at 400 yards with iron sights The triple digit heat index and over 90 percent humidity was oppressive, but spirits remained high   



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"I think I'm addicted," said Sgt Jake Lee, A Co, 2-135 Infantry, after his first competition, "I didn't shoot that well ... this time That was a lot of fun" 

When not firing, competitors spent their time 'in the pits', scoring and critiquing their fellow competitor's performance  Pit commands, punctuated by the sound of bullets snapping overhead, kept target-pullers busy when not pulling the trigger

Pistol matches followed on Sunday to complete the exercise, with little relief from the relentless heat  With no targets to pull, shooters had a chance to try to stay cool and watch the matches  Twelve competitors at a time fired the Combat Pistol match followed by the Excellence in Competition match  During the Combat pistol match, each of the stages added something new  During the first stage, or the armor defeating stage, each Soldier must put 2 rounds into the body of their target and one into the facial scoring ring at 15 yards  If the Soldier misses the facial scoring ring, the entire target is disallowed for score  The second stage finds the Soldier engaging up to four targets with multiple rounds and with each iteration the pop-up target exposure time is decreased  The EIC Pistol Match brings the Soldier back to the 30-yard line for the first stage of the match  As the match progresses, Soldiers must utilize the kneeling and prone firing positions, as well as negotiate the course of fire with decreasing time on each target

While speaking to competitors after the matches, State Marksmanship Coordinator Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Sorben added; "Paper doesn't lie  You might be able to nick a target or kick up some rocks for a hit on the automated ranges, but when the holes are counted up for score, you know who the shooters are" 

Sorben took first place in the Combat Pistol EIC, Combat Pistol Individual Championship Match, Combat Match Individual Champion and the Combat Excellence in Competition categories  Staff Sgt Al Schneider, 2-135 Unit Marksmanship Coordinator took first in the Combat Rifle Individual Championship Match and the Reflexive Fire Match  Sgt Brandon Thiebault, 850th Engineer Company, took first in the 300-Yard Feedback while Sgt First Class Chad Blake, Joint Force Headquarters, Minnesota National Guard, took first in the Known Distance Rifle Qualification Match

Sorben and Schneider will be representing the Minnesota National Guard at the National Trophy matches at the end of the month  Guard shooters will have an opportunity to refine their marksmanship skills at the Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club (GRRC) at their annual Service Member Rifle Clinic held September 24-25  For more information on the clinic and leg match at GRRC, go to: http://www.mrra.org/downloads/grrc/2011_Leg.pdf

17 July, 2011
Written by Staff Sgt Albert H Schneider
2-135 Unit Marksmanship Coordinator



Match winners:
MATCH RI 304: 300 Yard Feedback
1st Place: Sgt Brandon Thiebault, 850th Horizontal Engineer Company
2nd Place: Sgt Larkin Adey, 55th Civil Support Team
3rd Place: Sgt. 1st Class Chad Blake, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment

MATCH RI 322: Known Distance Rifle Qualification Match
1st Place: Sgt. 1st Class Chad Blake,Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
2nd Place: Spc Lee Heaton, B Co, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry
3rd Place: Spc Ted Strauch, Headquarters, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry

MATCH RI302: Reflexive Fire Match
1st Place: Staff Sgt Al Schneider, A Co, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry
1st Place: Sgt Christopher Maag, B Battery, 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery
3rd Place: Staff Sgt Josh Zoccoli, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment

MATCH RI 321: Combat Excellence In Competition
1st Place: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Sorben, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
2nd Place: Sgt Larkin Adey, 55th Civil Support Team
3rd Place: Staff Sgt Al Schneider, A Co, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry

MATCH RI 325: Combat Rifle Individual Championship Match
1st Place:  Staff Sgt Al Schneider, A Co, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry
2nd Place: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Sorben, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
3rd Place: Staff Sgt Josh Zoccoli, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment

MATCH PI 302: Combat Pistol Match
1st Place: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Sorben, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
2nd Place: Staff Sgt Josh Zoccoli, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
3rd Place: Spc Grant Schackman, 682nd Engineer Battalion

MATCH PI 221: Combat Pistol Excellence In Competition
1st Place: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Sorben, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
2nd Place: Spc Grant Schackman, 682nd Engineer Battalion
3rd Place: Sgt Jared McChesney, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery

MATCH PI 325: Combat Pistol Individual Championship Match
1st Place: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Sorben, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
2nd Place: Spc Grant Schackman, 682nd Engineer Battalion
3rd Place: Staff Sgt Josh Zoccoli, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment

Match CI 325: Combat Match Individual Champion
1st Place:  Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Sorben, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
2nd Place: Staff Sgt Josh Zoccoli, Joint Force Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
3rd Place: Staff Sgt Al Schneider, A Co, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry

 

Congratulations to the newest Bronze EIC badge winners in the MN National Guard

RIFLE: Sgt Larkin Adey
RIFLE: Spc Brandon Batterberry
RIFLE: Staff Sgt Terry Polzin
RIFLE: Staff Sgt Daniel Vopatek
RIFLE: Spc Nathan Jensen
RIFLE: Officer Candidate Jordan Carlson

PISTOL: Sgt Larkin Adey
PISTOL: Staff Sgt Josh Zoccolli
PISTOL: Spc Grant Schackman
PISTOL: Staff Sgt Daniel Vopatek
PISTOL: Sgt Jared Chesney





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