Soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps competed in the 2017 U.S. Army Forces Command Small Arms Marksmanship Competition held Oct. 23 to 26 across Fort Bragg.
The XVIII Abn. Corps sent 15 Soldiers, representing all divisions within the Corps. The Soldiers took home seven of 14 trophies in five different categories and dominated the novice categories, taking six out of the nine, top-three positions.
A total of 31 service members from 10 different FORSCOM units came to Fort Bragg to compete, said Sgt. Maj. Matthew Hire, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division.
“The competition really gives these individual shooters, the best in their respective units, a place to come test their skills against the best that the Army or FORSCOM has to offer across every post,” he said.
Competitors had to complete stress shoots requiring Soldiers to carry heavy equipment, stop and shoot, pick the gear back up and continue running.
Additional tasks included Soldiers dragging “simulated casualties,” using a skedco and engaging targets from most lethal (closest) threat to least (farthest) threat, said Staff Sgt. Ross Giles, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
The competition tested Soldiers in rifle, squad automatic weapon and pistol marksmanship.
“Outstanding, I am thrilled with this performance,” remarked Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general of the XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg, after hearing the results of the competition. “This is the kind of Soldier competition that really matters most towards building readiness to fight and win.”
The XVIII Abn. Corps emphasizes marksmanship as a central part of being “Ready Now” — the ability to fight and win, tonight, added Townsend.
Sgt. Jordan Latham, a horizontal construction engineer assigned to the 161st Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, exemplified this emphasis by placing third in the novice M249 automatic rifle category.
He said the competition provided a good variety of events in which to compete, as well as a diverse pool of competitors with different skillsets.
“Overall, the competition was set up really well,” he said. “Having all the different units there was very helpful because everyone brought something to the table.”
One of the goals of the championship, according to a marksmanship newsletter, is to raise the standards of marksmanship and increase lethality across the entire force.
The following XVIII Abn. Corps Soldiers placed in the 2017 FORSCOM Marksmanship Competition:
M4 rifle
1st: Spc. Cody N. Nestor, 82nd Abn. Div. 3rd: Spc. Stephen G. Stavish, 10th Mountain Division
M9 pistol
3rd: Spc. Jon A. Wannemacher, 82nd Abn. Div.
1st: Capt. Matthew A. Milley, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
2nd: 2nd Lt. Andrew S. Clanton, 3rd Infantry Division
M249 automatic rifle
(Novice Only)
1st: Sgt. Colten L. Pilczuk, 101st Abn. Div. (AA)
3rd: Sgt. Jordan Latham, 20th Eng. Bde.