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SHOOTERS - Wing’s marksmen hit target at state, regional, national matches

Master Sgt. Benjamin Israel, 139th Airlift Wing, Security Forces Squadron, prepares to shoot at the National Guard’s Winston P. Wilson shooting exercise on Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Little Rock, Ark., in October. The Wing’s two marksmanship teams sent Airmen to the Guard’s state, regional and national shooting matches this year. (Photo by Ann Keyes, Missouri National Guard) (Released)

Master Sgt. Benjamin Israel, 139th Airlift Wing, Security Forces Squadron, prepares to shoot at the National Guard’s Winston P. Wilson shooting exercise on Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Little Rock, Ark., in October. The Wing’s two marksmanship teams sent Airmen to the Guard’s state, regional and national shooting matches this year. (Photo by Ann Keyes, Missouri National Guard) (Released)

12/4/2010 ST. JOSEPH, MO. -- The 139th Airlift Wing's top marksmen competed at the Winston P. Wilson (WPW) Marksmanship Sustainment Training Exercise, Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Little Rock, Ark., in October.

The six-day exercise included 91 teams of the best shooters from across the nation. Matches were fast-paced and centered on combat-related shooting scenarios.

Master Sgt. Benjamin Israel from the Security Forces Squadron shooting team and Tech. Sgt. Nathan Nichols, Tech. Sgt. Rodd Boyer and 2nd Lt. Jeremy Funk from the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron shooting team first competed in May at the Adjutant General's joint marksmanship competition (TAG 20).

Winners of the TAG 20 represented the Missouri Guard at the eight-state regional championships in Austin, Texas.

From there, Israel, Nichols, Boyer and nine other Missouri Guardmembers went on to compete at the WPW.

"It's a very engaged sport," said Nichols about what it took to put bullets on target, which was the difference between first and last place. "It takes a lot of effort and energy."

Israel's joint Missouri Guard team took first place in the "All-States" category, which was regarded as the overall team champion.

"I was ecstatic," Israel told officials. "When they called third place, I thought, 'Okay, we got second place or fourth.' When we didn't get called for second place, I thought 'fourth.' I was completely surprised."

The Airmen said today they hope to do as well next year.

The Wing currently has two marksmanship teams.

In competition, they shoot the M9 pistol and M16A4 rifle from prone, kneeling and standing positions, among other weapons.

Nichols said the security forces and maintenance squadron teams did very well, especially considering the maintenance squadron team had not competed in nearly 10 years.

"We plan on practicing more, so that we can maybe do better," said Nichols. "We already have intentions of sending two maintenance teams next year."