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2014 Mass. marksmanship competition

104th Fighter Wing, Westfield, Mass. -- Approximately 90 Soldiers and Airmen from bases all over the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, converged on Camp Edwards to compete in the 2014 Massachusetts State Marksmanship Competition, May 16.

Soldiers and airmen alike donned their helmets and load carrying equipment to test their marksmanship skills with both the rifle and pistol to determine the top shooter for the state.

Friday began with a registration, and a welcome brief by Lt. Col. Corbett and Capt. Mondello.

Day one began bright and early with a safety brief, a match overview, and a small arms firing school from the range cadre. The Reflexive Fire rifle match is where shooters engage multiple targets at 25 yards with the rifle or carbine simulating a close combat environment. On Saturday afternoon the range was abuzz with excitement for the USAF Excellence in Competition (EIC) Rifle match 301. Shooters fired at reduced targets 25 yards away utilizing the standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone positions. Top shooters in the EIC match are awarded an Elementary Bronze badge for their service dress uniform at the state level. As the shooter progresses to the regional and national level, bronze, silver, and gold are awarded based on a points system.

Day two began with a safety brief, a match overview, and a small arms firing school for pistol. Master Sgt. Casey Walsh from Barnes Air National Guard Base (ANGB) conducted the Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) for all in attendance. He covered safety, drawing from the holster, reloading, and positions required for the match, which greatly enhanced the knowledge base for all who attended. The days match tested soldiers and airmen with the M9 pistol. Combat Pistol 201 was fired first with shooters engaging multiple targets from different positions from 25 and 15 yards. With the same enthusiasm, the EIC Pistol Match was conducted. Like the rifle EIC, soldiers and airmen seek the bronze badge, which shows that they are an excellent marksman. The match is fired from 30, 25, 20, and 15 yards in standing, kneeling, and even the prone position with multiple targets.

Finally the last rounds were fired and the tedious task of putting the stats for awards was put in motion. Soldiers and airmen alike anxiously awaited the results to see if they made the grade for an elementary bronze badge. Col. Ken Lambrich was in attendance and presented the awards with Lt. Col. Corbett and State Command Sergeant Major, Carlos O. Ramos Rivera. The 104th Fighter Wing Marksmanship Team earned over 20 plaques and 3 Minuteman trophies in individual and team matches in every category.
The 1st Sgt. Kevin A. DuPont trophy was presented to Master Sgt. Chris Cekovsky of the 104th Security Forces Squadron who achieved the top overall score for the 2014 matches. 1st Sgt. Kevin DuPont was a Small Arms Readiness Training Instructor for the Massachusetts National Guard who died June 17, 2009, of wounds he suffered on March 8, 2009 from an IED.

The 104FW was very well represented this year by the following shooters: Team 20- Maj. Steve Reynolds, Tech. Sgt. Sue Fopiano, Tech. Sgt. Richard Hutchinson, Senior Airman John Severin; Team 19- Senior Master Sgt. Jose Rijos, Master Sgt. Daniel Johnston, Tech. Sgt. Marc Gauvin, Staff Sgt. Rob Krider; Team 18- Master Sgt. Chris Cekovsky, Master Sgt. Todd Canedy, Master Sgt. Casey Walsh, and Tech. Sgt. Joel Stern.
Congratulations to all the participants as we look forward to next year's competition.