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Airmen take top honors at marksmanship competition

Mo Guard Six and Parasitic Drag, shooting teams for the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Group, Missouri Air National Guard, stand on the flight line May 25, 2011, at Rosecreans Memorial Airport. The two teams competed in the Missouri National Guard Adjutant General State Combat Match May 12 – 15. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/RELEASED)

Mo Guard Six and Parasitic Drag, shooting teams for the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Group, Missouri Air National Guard, stand on the flight line May 25, 2011, at Rosecreans Memorial Airport. The two teams competed in the Missouri National Guard Adjutant General State Combat Match May 12 – 15. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/RELEASED)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Airmen from the 139th Airlift Wing competed in the Missouri National Guard Adjutant General State Combat Match May 12 - 15.

Three teams traveled to Camp Crowder near Neosho, Mo. "Parasitic Drag" and "Mo Guard Six" were two teams from the 139th Maintenance Group. More than 130 Soldiers and Airmen from Missouri competed in the events.

Tech. Sgt. Nate Nichols, originally slated to go as an alternate, was able to form a third team with other 139th members. "The Black Squirrels" included Lt. Col. Ron Douglas, 180th Airlift Squadron, Master Sgt. Ben Israel, 139th Security Forces, Tech. Sgt. Matt Price, 139th Recruiting, and Nichols.

The Black Squirrels placed first in the George S. Patton match, a multiple target engagement where the entire team fires on six targets at once. The Parasitic Drag placed second in that event. That team included Tech. Sgts. Rodd Boyer, Eric Tracy, Master Sgt. Brent Proffitt and Staff Sgt. Jason Neiswander.

With the competition lasting up to 12 hours a day, Nichols says it's designed to test marksmanship in stressful, combat scenarios.

"The entire marksmanship program is designed to encourage and promote marksmanship capabilities in troops that may not have a chance to normally train in an environment that tests marksmanship and stress levels," said Nichols.

Nichols said the long range rifle match was the most challenging for him, but he did well with the pistol, his weapon of choice. The Black Squirrels also placed first in the Osama bin Laden splash match. "It's a fun and good engagement that actually has devices that fall and move, not just a piece of [static] paper," said Nichols.

Boyer and Israel were of the top 20 shooters in the competition and were selected to be part of the "Governor's 12" to represent Missouri at the regional level in August.

"We held our own and we're just mechanics," said Nichols.

Mo Guard Six included Tech. Sgts. Andrew Mosley, John Sappington, Master Sgt. Chad Underwood and Airman 1st Class Cameron Blanton.