The Maneuver Center of Excellence, in partnership with U.S. Army Recruiting Command Marketing and the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), is hosting the U.S. Army Small Arms Championship this week at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The Army Marksmanship event allows soldiers to compete with, interact with, and learn from the best marksmen in USAMU and other units.
This year, the United States Army Reserve has four teams (16 soldiers) participating in the competition.
“I love to shoot,” said the master sergeant. Liechar Velazquez, 382nd Engineer Company (Sapper). “We don’t have the opportunity to fire our weapons as often as the active component does, but this competition gives us the opportunity to show that we are still as trained and ready for combat as ever.”
“Many of the soldiers who participate in this competition are selected to represent their units in the US Army Small Arms Championship,” said Michael Buss, competition chief at USAMU. “Most went through local and regional competitions to earn their place for this game.”
The competition provides soldiers with a platform to showcase their unit’s marksmanship skills while gaining notoriety for their command.
Buss said about 50 percent of soldiers participating this year are competing in the match for the very first time.
Participation in military and civilian sponsored small arms marksmanship competitions provides soldiers with the opportunity to hone their marksmanship skills and compete against other military snipers and civilians.
They can also earn superior marksmanship awards in addition to the basic army marksmanship awards available through the annual qualification standards.
“Participants will leave better trained snipers with increased marksmanship skills and understanding,” said USAMU program coordinator Roscoe Castle. “The challenging courses of fire allow them to fully explore the capabilities of their weapons on their own at ranges of 5 to 500 yards.”
Rifle and pistol shooting clinics, as well as all ammunition, are provided as part of the championship.
During the Army Small Arms Championship there is also a separate event, the Competitive Excellence Program (EIC).
The EIC was established in 1884 by General Phillip Henry Sheridan to recognize the best marksmen in the entire army.
The program encompasses both rifle and pistol marksmanship skills and recognizes top performing soldiers during competition. Soldiers can compete in up to five EIC competitions per year per weapon system; five rifle matches and five pistol matches.
The top 10% of competitors in an EIC event receive credit points.
“Earning the Distinguished Marksmanship Badge lets other soldiers know that you are a subject matter expert in the handling and control of weapons,” Castle said. “It also sets them apart as being an above-average and lethal sniper.”
USAMU Fort Benning will host the awards ceremony for this event, offering awards to the top performers at this competition.