Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) captured the overall individual and team championships at the 54th Interservice Pistol Championships, June 17-21.
The USAMU Blue team won its eighth consecutive championship, while Sgt. 1st Class James Henderson won the overall individual title – an honor he has captured eight times.
“It’s great to win again,” Henderson said. “I am incredibly proud of my teammates. They represented the Army extremely well this week. We like having that team trophy in our section room. To win it again is gratifying.”
Pistol shooters from the Army, Army Reserve, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard descended on Fort Benning for the championships. Inter-service marksmen competed in individual and team matches with .22-caliber, .45-cal, center fire, and service pistols. The week ended with an excellence-in-competition match and distinguished shooter director’s match.
The competition crowns the best of the best while providing the opportunity for service members to share techniques, develop new ideas and enhance the overall combat readiness of the joint force. Col. Mark Rado, commander, U.S. Army Accessions Support Brigade, Army Marketing and Research Group, was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony that closed out the week.
“The Interservice Pistol Championship is the pinnacle of handgun shooting among all branches of the military,” Rado said. “It brings together the highest caliber of competitive marksmen in the nation representing our armed forces.
“Marksmanship proficiency is a shared goal among the total force,” Rado continued. “To effectively engage the enemy, our country needs service members who can hit their target.”
Henderson won the .22-cal, center fire and service pistol matches and finished with a score of 3541 with 170 shots hitting the “X” ring, which is half the size of the 10 ring. For his accomplishment he received an M1 Garand Secretary of the Army Trophy Rifle.
Staff Sgt. Patrick Franks, USAMU, followed Henderson in second with a score of 3521-182x. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson claimed third place with a score of 3515-171x. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jonathan Shue was edged out of the top three with a score of 3515-153x but won the .45-cal trophy. Franks won the Director’s Match and Marine Corps Cpl. Brandon Hartsock won the Excellence-in-Competition Match.
USAMU Blue swept every team match on their way to the overall championship. Team members were Henderson, Franks, Staff Sgt. Michael Gasser, Spc. Greg Markowski, and Sgt. Sean Ragay. Their aggregate score of 4669-220x was 125 points higher than the second place team, USMC Scarlet, with a score of 4544-160x. Coming in third place was USAR Black with a score of 4514-188x.
The USAMU pistol team is now focused on the National Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio next month. Next up in the Interservice Match Series is the Interservice Rifle Championship, scheduled to be held July 15-23 at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Image by Michael Molinaro, USAMU