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N.H. Army, Air National Guard hit their mark

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – New Hampshire Air National Guard members, Senior Airman Nelson Elias, right, and Master Sgt. Michael Bane, prepare to fire the M-9 weapon during the pistol portion of the state marksmanship competition here Aug. 25. Members of the N.H. National Guard squared off in a marksmanship competition Aug. 23 through 25 to determine who the best at pistol, rifle and team competitors were for 2013. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – New Hampshire Air National Guard members, Senior Airman Nelson Elias, right, and Master Sgt. Michael Bane, prepare to fire the M-9 weapon during the pistol portion of the state marksmanship competition here Aug. 25. Members of the N.H. National Guard squared off in a marksmanship competition Aug. 23 through 25 to determine who the best at pistol, rifle and team competitors were for 2013. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – New Hampshire Air National Guard Senior Airman Nelson Elias, right, and N.H. Army National Guard Sgt. Jacinta Crooker, count rounds that hit the target during the state marksmanship competition here Aug. 25. Members of the N.H. National Guard squared off in a marksmanship competition Aug. 23 through 25 to determine who the best at pistol, rifle and team competitors were for 2013. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – New Hampshire Air National Guard Senior Airman Nelson Elias, right, and N.H. Army National Guard Sgt. Jacinta Crooker, count rounds that hit the target during the state marksmanship competition here Aug. 25. Members of the N.H. National Guard squared off in a marksmanship competition Aug. 23 through 25 to determine who the best at pistol, rifle and team competitors were for 2013. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – New Hampshire Army National Guard Lt. Col. Roy Hunter tallies the scores of competitors during the state marksmanship competition here Aug. 25. High scores for top gun was N.H. Army National Guard Capt. Allen Corey; top combat pistol was N.H. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Michael Bane; top combat rifle was N.H. Army National Guard Allen Corey. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – The 54th Troop Command was etched for a third straight year on the trophy for top overall team as New Hampshire Army National Guard Lt. Col. Roy Hunter tallies the scores of competitors during the state marksmanship competition here Aug. 25. High scores for top gun was N.H. Army National Guard Capt. Allen Corey; top combat pistol was N.H. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Michael Bane; top combat rifle was N.H. Army National Guard Allen Corey. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – New Hampshire Army National Guard Maj. David Fink prepares to announce the state’s top gun competitors to members of the N.H. National Guard here Aug. 25. Airmen and soldiers vied for coveted slots on the N.H. Combat Squad, to compete at the New England Warrior Challenge and the National Guard Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. – New Hampshire Army National Guard Maj. David Fink prepares to announce the state’s top gun competitors to members of the N.H. National Guard here Aug. 25. Airmen and soldiers vied for coveted slots on the N.H. Combat Squad, to compete at the New England Warrior Challenge and the National Guard Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1. (N.H. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt/Released)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. -- The New Hampshire Army and Air National Guard squared off in a marksmanship competition here Aug. 23 through 25 to determine who the best at pistol, rifle and team competitors were for this year. Although the event had a competitive spirit to it, organizers believe that the training received and the camaraderie built among the competitors is the real success of the weekend.

"It's good competition for the Army and Air National Guard and a useful way to sharpen their combat skills," said Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III, The Adjutant General, New Hampshire National Guard.

Despite the N.H. Army National Guard team, 54th Troop Command A-Team, finishing with the top overall score of 1,827 points; the N.H. Air National Guard team, Air Guard, finished a close second with a team score of 1,775.

Competing against one another, airmen and soldiers vied for coveted slots on the N.H. Combat Squad, which will compete at the New England Warrior Challenge and the National Guard Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 1 Competition Sept. 14 and 15.

"This is a great opportunity to come out and see Airmen in the field," said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Collier, N.H. Air National Guard state command chief. "These are critical skills that we need day-in and day-out when we deploy."

Although participants were competitive, the real goal of the shootout was to provide valuable training that could mean the difference between life and death while deployed.

"It's training to take care of a weapon that someday you might have to pick up and use in a real-world environment," added Collier.

The state's senior enlisted member went on to note that Airmen and Soldiers may find themselves working together in the state during a natural disaster and the camaraderie is invaluable.

"This camaraderie that is built here among Army and Air National Guard is huge because these are the same people we're going to deploy to Newington or Center Strafford when a flood or an ice storm happens," said Collier. "The relationships that are built out here among the Airmen and Soldiers will reap dividends later down the road."

Master Sgt. Brian Dulin, the marksmanship coordinator at Pease Air National Guard Base, saw valuable skills gained while participating in the marksmanship program.

"The training Airmen and Soldiers receive here through this competition is a very relevant skill," said Dulin. "We're not hiding between trees and throwing grenades, but we're running to a point and getting in a firing position, firing rapidly and changing magazines and firing again. We're shooting from all different ranges different firing positions."

And while the base marksmanship coordinator is pleased with the amount of people that participated this year, he sees room for growth.

"There are a group of Airmen that come every month who are interested and dedicated," said Dulin. "We've had about 20 different Airmen throughout the year, which is great and means that there is a slightly larger group interested."

The TAG expressed how he thought as forces return to garrison, this competition is a great way to remain engaged.

"We're always looking for new ways to keep our warriors engaged as we return to garrison after 13 years of combat," said The Adjutant General of New Hampshire Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel. "This competition is a great way to challenge our warriors."

Because this competition creates as realistic a combat training environment as you will receive stateside.

"I'd like to see it as a tool for commander's to use when their people are preparing for a deployment -- additional weapons familiarization on the M-16 or M-9," said Dulin.

While impressed with participation, the state command chief would encourage more to get involved in this event next year.

"More than just competitors gaining valuable skills here during this event, they're going back to their units and sharing that information with other Airmen and Soldiers," said Collier. "That's why this is such an important event that we should be supporting more."

For more information on the New Hampshire National Guard Combat Marksmanship Competition, contact your respective service representative. Air National Guard, Master Sgt. Brian Dulin at Brian.Dulin@ang.af.mil. Army National Guard, Maj. David Fink at david.fink@us.army.mil.

The weekend's top performers for combat rifle, combat pistol and overall top gun scores are as follows:

High scores for top gun, overall individual: N.H. Army National Guard Capt. Allen Corey II, 605 total points.

High score for top combat pistol: N.H. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Michael Bane, 313 total points.

High score for top combat rifle: N.H. Army National Guard Capt. Allen Corey II, 328 total points.

High score for top team: 54th Troop Command A-Team, 1,827 total points.

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