FORT BENNING, Ga. — The Army recently announced the expansion of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit to include 24 wounded warriors as members of its new Paralympic and Instructor sections.
The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s, or USAMU’s, Paralympic and Instructor sections will showcase the resiliency of wounded warriors. Recruiting for those positions is now underway and open to wounded warriors who are eligible to continue to serve on active duty.
The USAMU was established March 1, 1956, at the direction of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to raise the standards of marksmanship throughout the U.S. Army. Today, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit trains Soldiers worldwide, providing training built to support real-world missions like Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The USAMU “Home of Champions” at Fort Benning, Ga., is comprised of world-class shooters, marksmanship instructors and gunsmiths.
Wounded warriors selected to join the USAMU will use the skills developed during their careers to train Soldiers and serve as Army ambassadors at marksmanship venues worldwide. The initiative emphasizes how much the Army values the experience of its Soldiers, especially the sacrifices of its veterans, said Col. Mark A. Rado., United States Army Accessions Brigade Command.
“We see the experience these veterans have gained as something they can share with other Soldiers,” Rado said. “These Soldiers truly showcase ability over disability and are the definition of what it means to be Army Strong.”
Lt. Col. Don King, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit commander and his team will review applicants to form the unit’s new instructor and paralympic sections. Those selected will join the Army’s elite marksmanship unit.
“This ground-breaking, goal-setting, and future oriented program provides an opportunity to raise Army marksmanship proficiency,” King said. “The expansion of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit to include Soldiers wounded in combat will allow them to represent the Army in international competition, tell their story of strength and resiliency while continuing to serve their nation.”
Combat veteran and premier Army paralympic shooter Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson, along with other world class shooters, will mentor selected Soldiers and help shape the new USAMU sections.
Olson was the first active-duty Soldier wounded in combat to compete in the Paralympics, representing the U.S. at London in 2012. He lost his right leg after being attacked while on a patrol in Iraq in 2003.
Wounded warriors who apply for the new positions will be screened by USAMU leadership. There are specific requirements Soldiers must meet to be considered for one of the 24 slots. They must be classified as continue on active duty; have a minimum of three years retain ability; accept long-term assignment stabilization; and be an Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom veteran.
Additionally, to be eligible for the Paralympic section, Soldiers must meet International Paralympic Committee classification eligibility. Soldiers interested in becoming members of the instructor group must be Purple Heart recipients and have a combat arms military occupational specialty.
For more information regarding Paralympic classification, refer to www.paralympic.org/Classification/Introduction.
The positions require a strong desire to represent the United States in international shooting competitions, and up to six-hour days on the range in a competitive marksmanship environment, including many weekends, said King.
Membership in the instructor group will require the ability to remain on the firing range for up to eight hours a day and the motivation to enjoy training Soldiers; planning, resourcing and executing training or travel plans; and the knowledge to exemplify the “be, know and do” of marksmanship and its instruction.
Soldiers interested in joining the USAMU Instructor or Paralympics sections should contact the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at DSN 835-6702, commercial (706) 545-6702, email: USAMUComp@usarec.army.mil. Fax number is DSN 835-1048; commercial (706) 545-1048.