La. Guard Soldiers and Airmen shoot for marksmanship honors

By Spc. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana National Guard’s top marksmen gathered at Camp Beauregard for the annual Adjutant General’s Match, Oct. 15-16.

The 75 Soldiers and Airmen that competed in the match had the opportunity to put their skills and training to the test, with top shooters being named to the Governor’s Twenty. The competition included both rifle and pistol precision shooting and reflexive fire. The match is designed to improve combat readiness and survivability by exposing shooters to stressful situations, according to the event’s organizers.

“It allows our Soldiers and Airmen to hone their marksmanship skills and become proficient in the weapons they’re going to be using when deployed for combat,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Shelton, state senior enlisted advisor for the Louisiana Air National Guard. “It encourages our Soldiers and Airmen to come out and practice on a skill that’s going to be required in combat.”

Soldiers and Airmen not only get to test their skills, but they get to learn and train with the more experienced shooters.

“New shooters just come out and enjoy yourself. Watch people and take notes, and come out and just put rounds in a target,” Spc. Jonathon Freeland of B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, said to the attendees. “You’ve got guys walking around with a good 10-20 years of experience. Soak it up while you can and learn from every match, come back better next time.”

In addition to the top twenty competitors being awarded a Governor’s Twenty tab, the top 10 percent earn a bronze Excellence in Competition badge. These shooters earn points towards the gold EIC badge, which is the highest military marksmanship designation.

Army Staff Sgt. Mark Herring, with the 165th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was named the Top Gun with the highest overall combined score.

Army Sgt. Kalen Begnaud, with the 415th Military Intelligence Company, had the highest overall rifle score. Air Force Lt. Col. Bruce Rademacher, with the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron, had the highest EIC Pistol score. Freeland had the highest score in the combat rifle match. Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephen Boniol, with 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron, had the highest score in the combat pistol match.

Highest team honors went to the 62nd Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass Destruction), consisting of Army Maj. Will Saint, Army Staff Sgt. Seth Woodfield, Army Capt. Matt Digby, and Army Sgt. Zachary Skaggs.

These Soldiers and Airmen will now represent Louisiana at the national competition.

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