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Forming a Marksmanship Team


SSGJohnV

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Hello all,

A little background. I am active duty Army stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and am working on pitching an idea to my Division Commander (101st Airborne Division) regarding forming a Division Marksmanship Team. Focus would be on shooting both Army Marksmanship competitions as well as practical shooting competitions in the civilian sector.

I already have an interview planned with Jay Corn for this weekend to get his input on the subject, but I was wanting to seek out some of you who might have more experience with forming, organizing, and funding a competetive shooting team. This is not going to be some half-assed attempt at getting paid to shoot, but that would be a nice plus. I am looking in to all areas of this and respect the Enos community for the large amount of experience and information present here.

I've been shooting USPSA seriously for the last 3 years, and am trying to shoot as many majors as possible this year, but would love to see the Division put more emphasis on marksmanship as it is a perishable skill that the average Soldier doesn't get enough training on. It is my firm belief that practical shooting benefits the unit and its service members, so this is something I plan on seeing through.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Pitfalls to watch out for? Things I should plan and account for?

Thanks for your help.

-SSG John V.

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Think in terms of how it will improve your units readiness and mission accomplishment.

You need to be able to sell the command on the benefits.

Try to highlight what shooting civilian matches will bring that your standard 101'st schools and SOP's don't teach.

What type of unit is it?

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I am presenting it as such. There was just an AFN news snippet about Marines shooting 3-gun on post as part of their training. I foresee it not only as a team to go out and compete, but to bring the following to the unit as a whole:

-Greater interest in shooting in general, which will increase individual readiness

-A multi-faceted team (I only shoot pistol currently, but have a few 3-gunners that have said they are interested) that can present new shooting techniques to the unit without having to go through the doctrine changes of the Army

-Training workshops with members of the unit

This is being pursued as a division team, not just a company or battalion (100-150 people, and 300-500 people, respectively), so it would apply to everyone that wears a 101st patch on Fort Campbell. We are a combat infantry division (Air Assault)

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The difference would be that this team would be internal to the 101st Airborne Division, and might hopefully lead to the AMU picking them up as member if they show promise. Who knows. Just because the Army has a unit dedicated to marksmanship, doesn't necessarily preclude another unit from having something similar I imagine.

The AMU's entire mission is to compete and train. This would be a team to do something similar, but within the division, and not full time.

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Good luck with this. I hope you can make it happen but if I were the CG I would reference the AMU. I would also see Uspsa as totally outside the realm of having any real military value. The last thing I would want one of my soldiers to do is wade into 16 terrorists with a pistol.:)

Don't most grunts still carry rifles instead of pistols? What is it you want the CG to do?

I would probably just buy a TechWear shirt and put a big screaming eagle on the back of it and go represent the unit.

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Sarge,

I 100% realize it will be a tough sell. What I aim to do is propose it as a joint thing. Army Marksmanship Competitions (like what the AMU puts on, as they run matches for this purpose), USPSA/3-gun/Steel Challenge events, and training the force here as a team.

I have a buddy in the AMU and I asked him about this exact thing, and his suggestion was to stick with the Army part of it, but I believe I have a chance of it if I present it as a joint thing.

Yes to the rifles thing, but most Joes have a pistol at home. If a team can motivate Soldiers to go out there and compete (rifle, pistol, whatever) it will only raise readiness. I'm not saying USPSA is a real world example of combat for the troops, but it's better than standing on a static range and punching paper.

In regards to the jersey, if I'm going to wear a logo, I'd like to be compensated for it.

Oh, and in speaking with my contact at the AMU, they (the AMU) are cutting a lot of their train the trainer courses and resident courses while they work up new doctrine and adjust the training curriculum.

I appreciate your input, in all seriousness. I guess I have a hard time taking no for an answer. And yes, my chain is behind me on this. If I can present something worth a damn they will back me to the CG.

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Consider getting an AMU leader to back you with a call or email to the CG.

Remember that suicides were up again last month. Don't be surprised if that plays into the decision making process.

Truly, best of luck!!

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Sarge, I might do just that. I'm going to get a promotional video together with clips from my interview with Mr. Corn, and some shooters at Area 6 and stuff like that. Try to make it look good.

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Emphasis on training the trainer, it becomes a cheaper option for commanders than getting people in or sending people away to schools, and obviously the trainers need to be skilled so that would lead on to competitions.

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I would be very interested to see how this plays out. I am at FT Campbell right now but leaving for Lewis soon. I shoot 3 gun matches every weekend I can all around TN. I also shot on the MS National Guards team before I went active duty and the team held a annual marksmanship match every year that had an emphasis on advanced marksmanship. There was a classroom portion prior to the match but I understand the eagle marksmanship course does something similar. Is 3 gun going to be in the pitch or just USPSA?

Please keep us updated on your progress.

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If you haven't already gathered up and read the various Regs concerning Unit Marksmanship Teams, do so. At the time that I was the Base Marksmanship Coordinator for an ANG Wing the Army Regs. were close to the Air Force and ANG Regs. If you have a Unit team there used to be a way to get Match Grade rifles and pistols and ammo. In some cases you could get match entry fees paid. The guns were mainly Bullseye type, but we had service type rifles and pistols also. Back in the day the Army had Post and Division level teams that they put on orders to matches. Things have changed since my time, but it is still up to the Unit Commander to determine how much and what kind he will support the shooting teams. Your buddy in the AMU should be able to get you started on the proper Regs.

Good luck.

MSgt USAFR Ret.

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Thank you all for your insight. I had an interview with Shannon Smith at the Area 6 Championship and getting his voice behind it is definitely going to help, especcially seeing as he is ex-Army himself.

I'm still working on the proposal and will keep you all updated with the progress.

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One big sell is the ability to see and evaluate civilian technology. USPSA and other shooting sports generally promote improving equipment. The private sector has the ability to try things that govt red tape tends to stall.

Not that this is the big sell point but its a benefit.

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If this picks up and doesn't get squashed by brass, I would definitely like to bother you about the details.

Might try to duplicate your efforts over here at Ft Riley, some buddies and I have discussed it several times but never actually tried to get a ball rolling...

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  • 2 months later...

Deerhunter, as you may know the Army is not really a military organization but a bureaucracy with guns, and moves like a turtle in molasses a lot of times.

I am still working it with the division small arms instructors and might have made some headway. I'll update if I hear anything solid but not much movement as of yet.

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well this is old news:

http://archive.armytimes.com/article/20100322/NEWS/3220306/Marksmen-issued-better-rifles-Afghanistan

If the army is expecting to continue to be in rifle battles

they should train for it.

from all I can tell accurate shooting is a perishable skill so the brass should encourage

anyone with an interest to keep practicing.

just having the time to look through glass and see is incredibly valuable.

from there, even a little practice holding over and windage will go a long way to being effective

in combat.

hunt for an armorer who knows how to add accuracy to the rifles...

the trick is that the team get to test the skills gained by being in a competition.

I'd look for local meets so that the higher ups don't think you are looking for a paid vacation.

sure seems to me what the Army should be doing.

luck.

miranda

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Hope it all works for you. I was in a unit in the Ohio ARNG, where we had support of our CO for our marksmanship team. He left and the new CO could have cared less. If we were shooting a match we werent at drill "training". Anyhow with the right CO it can work. Hope it goes well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Deerhunter, as you may know the Army is not really a military organization but a bureaucracy with guns, and moves like a turtle in molasses a lot of times.

I am still working it with the division small arms instructors and might have made some headway. I'll update if I hear anything solid but not much movement as of yet.

Yea man I hear you, keep up the good fight. There is a ton of local matches around the campbell area to shoot in. Maybe form an unofficial team and go shoot and lay out some of the results to them to push it forward

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but if I were the CG I would reference the AMU. I would also see Uspsa as totally outside the realm of having any real military value.

You contradict yourself. If there was no military value to USPSA competition, the AMU would not participate. I'm pretty sure everyone, including the AMU, understands that shooting sports are not for teaching tactics. They do, however, teach you to shoot way the hell better than anything in the .mil outside of SF and specialized units like the AMU.

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