By Master Sgt. Shannon Bond, 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published May 02, 2015
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- "Stay focused, don't worry about the rain, keep your heart rate steady and lean into it, despite the cold."
This was the frame of mind needed at this year's Adjutant General's Marksmanship Match, according to Master Sgt. Ben Israel, a member of the 139th Security Forces Squadron.
The match was held at Camp Crowder, Mo., March 26 through 29. Eight Airmen from the 139th Airlift Wing walked away with top honors.
"If all you're thinking about is your cold fingers, and how hungry you are, and how cold it is, it's going to demoralize you, and you're done," said Israel, who earned first place in the overall competition. "You have to look past that. It's all about your mind set."
76 total marksmen competed this year with the majority of them belonging to the Missouri Army National Guard.
The competition itself is more than just target practice, it is a combat match designed to highlight the best of the best and promote marksmanship throughout the ranks.
Tech. Sgt. Rodd Boyer with the 139th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who took second place overall, explains, "It's not just standing there and shooting. This is a combat pistol [and] riffle course. You have to do a lot of running to get your heart rate up. You're timed on shooting, magazine reloads, and tactics."
In the Patton match the marksman starts 300 yards from where they are going to fire their weapon.
"It's a four person team with six targets," Boyer says, "[You] run 300 yards in two minutes...with helmet, load bearing vest, water source, holster, pistol, all ammo. Move forward 30 yards, shoot, move 25 yards, move 20 yards. It's quick enough that your heart rate doesn't fully recover."
This year the 139th Airlift Wing had five new marksmen at the competition. In total the 139th left with first, second, third and nineteenth places in various categories.
"There were eight Air Guardsmen and there were 68 Army Guardsmen," said Israel. "And we [Boyer] took first and second places."
Placing among the top 20 earns the Adjutant General's Top Twenty Tab and placing in the top 12 earns the Governor's Twelve Tab. These tabs are authorized on Airman Battle Uniforms (ABU) and Army Combat Uniforms (ACU) with ribbons in place for dress uniforms. Beyond the tabs, ribbons, and recognition, the competition provides an opportunity for Airmen and Soldiers to come together and compete in a supportive environment that builds comradery.
In the end, the participants walk away with valuable experience and training that will serve them as they continue down the path of their chosen military careers.
High honors were earned by the following individuals and teams.
Individual ranking with an aggregate score of all combined matches:
1st place overall MSgt Benjamin Israel (880 pts)
2nd place overall TSgt Rodd Boyer (872 pts)
19th place overall Capt Jeremy Funk (705 pts)
The individual rifle standings are as follows:
Match 321 Excellence In Competition (EIC) Rifle:
1st place individual rife- TSgt Rodd Boyer (645 pts)
3rd place individual rifle- MSgt Ben Israel (577 pts)
Individual Pistol standings are as follows:
Match 221 Excellence In Competition (EIC) Pistol:
2nd place - MSgt Israel (139 SFS) with 165 pts
Team Standings Overall:
3rd place overall team- 139MXS (TSgt Boyer, Capt Funk, SSgt Foreman, SSgt Pepper) with 3723 points
Team Standing Rifle:
1st place Team Rifle- 139MXS (TSgt Boyer, Capt Funk, SSgt Foreman, SSgt Pepper) with 2013 points
Team Standings Pistol:
3rd place team pistol- 139SFS (MSgt Israel, SSgt Hunt, SSgt Rawlings, A1C Williams, D with 1870 points
Match 240: General George S. Patton pistol Match
3rd place team- 139MXS (TSgt Boyer, Capt Funk, SSgt Foreman, SSgt Pepper) with 485 points with 15-5s.
Multi gun match:
2nd place team- 139MXS (TSgt Boyer, Capt Funk, A1C Williams, D, SSgt Pepper) 241.83 Seconds