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U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit: Still Focused After A Year of Transition

Despite budget cuts, fur-

loughs, sequestration, continu- ing resolutions, ongoing changes in force structure, and a govern- ment shutdown, the Soldiers of the U.S.

Army Marksmanship

faced the unprecedented chal- lenges of 2013 with the steely- eyed focus and determination that has made the unit the Home of Champions for 57 years and counting. To say 2013 was a year of transition may be the under- statement of the year. One of the biggest transitions in the history of the unit oc- curred when the civilian coach- ing positions were converted to soldier duties. Several units in the military saw drastic cuts and, unfortunately, the USAMU could not escape the chopping block. The years of service given to their country by Tom Tamas, Dean Clark, Richard Hawkins, Ray Arre- dondo and Don Heuman can never be fully appreciated. The USA Shooting community is better off for having these fi ne coaches teaching generations of shooters the gift of nailing a 10.9 or hit- ting the x-ring 600 yards away. The good news is that all fi ve men landed on their feet, either still in the sport of shooting or in a new enterprise.

Due to the loss of coaches, some stalwarts on the team getting up there in years of ser- vice made the transition from competitor to coach. None sent a shockwave through the USA Shooting community more so than the retirement of SFC Jason Parker (Omaha, Neb.) from com- petitive shooting. Less than a


Men’s Double Trap fi nal at the National Championships featuring Glenn Eller, National Champion Josh Richmond and Jeff Holguin.

year after competing in his fourth Olympic games, Parker hung up his shooting jacket for the fi nal time to move into the coaching role for the USMAU International Rifl e team. Parker will now be tasked with getting the rifl e team prepared for an important year as qualifying for the Olympics gets closer.

The USAMU’s newly-formed

Paralympic team transitioned from the one-man show of SFC Josh Olson (Spokane, Wash.) into a fully-functional section within the unit. Take one step into their team room at Pool Indoor Range and you will see a camaraderie expected from a group of resil- ient men who overcame devas- tating injuries to persevere in life and form unbreakable bonds, on and off the range. The highlight of their year was SGT John Joss (Fort Michael, Ala.) winning a gold medal at the IPC World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, his fi rst gold medal on the international circuit. Everyone involved in the cur-

36 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2013

rent Olympic quad had to tran- sition into a new era when the ISSF adopted the radical new fi nals format. USAMU shooters quickly found out how differ- ent things would be and put an emphasis into their training regi- mens on the fi nals. One soldier who seemed to relish the new format was newly-promoted SSG Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas). The 2008 Olympic champion left everyone in double trap Shot- gun behind, winning the second World Championship of his dis- tinguished career in Peru. In ad- dition to his world title, Eller also won both the spring and fall se- lection matches to go along with a silver medal in the World Cup Final. SSG Josh Richmond reaped the benefi ts of the new fi nals for- mat to win the National Champi- onship in Colorado Springs. US- AMU teammate SSG Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, Calif.) dominated the qualifi cation round and was on his way to another national title, but Richmond prevailed. Aside from the International

teams, the USAMU fared ex- tremely well despite the unusual lack of training matches due to the fi scal uncertainty surround- ing the military. SSG Brandon Green had a summer for the ages, winning both the Interservice Ri- fl e match and NRA High-Powered Rifl e Championship. SSG Ty Coo- per won the NRA High-Powered long range title. SSG Daniel Horner and SGT Tyler Payne, both members of the Action Shoot- ing team, claimed their second consecutive International Sniper championship.

Both Service

teams, Rifl e and Pistol, swept the Interservice Championship indi- vidual and team categories for the eighth consecutive year. As the USAMU heads into

2014, the standard remains the same regardless of the actions of Congress.

Throughout our

237-year history, the Army has faced complex challenges, but through leadership and innova- tion, we succeeded. New, young and hungry shooters have signed their contract with the Army and will be wearing a USAMU black hat before long. There will be not one but two World Cups on Fort Benning with both an ISSF Rifl e/ Pistol World Cup in March to go along with an IPC World Cup in June. Thousands of soldiers will train with us; the fi rearms shop will undoubtedly develop a new round of ammo or fabricate a new gun that will give our shoot- ers an advantage; and fi rst and foremost, we’ll win more hard- ware on the range. Happy New Year!

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