Fort Benning, GA — Only three months remain until the inaugural Army Strong Collegiate Shooting Championships brings collegiate and junior shooters from around the country to Fort Benning and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. The dynamic format will draw the top college and junior shooters March 13-18 in four distinct championships: the National Rifle Association Intercollegiate Pistol Championships; the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championship; the Scholastic Steel Challenge Collegiate Championship; and the Scholastic Clay Target Program Challenge.
The ASCSC is designed to connect the Army with and promote youth and collegiate shooting sports. It aligns directly with the youth and collegiate shooting programs of the NRA Competitive Shooting Division, SSC, and SCTP, which all foster junior and collegiate participation in prestigious competitions while promoting firearms safety. The USAMU aims to make this an annual event.
The USAMU connects to America’s youth through teaching, coaching, and mentoring junior shooters throughout the year, and Soldiers make ideal mentors and role models for our nation’s youth, said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander, USAMU. In these respects, the Army’s hosting of this event a perfect fit.
“The USAMU, home to the absolute best marksman, marksmanship instructors, and gunsmiths, is the ideal location to hold this ground-breaking Army Strong Collegiate Shooting Championships,” said Hodne. “Our newest generation of collegiate champions across multiple shooting disciplines will earn their titles at the ‘Home of Champions.’”
Teams and individuals are currently vying to earn an invitation to the NRA Collegiate Pistol and Rifle Club Championships. The top ten ranked teams and thirty individuals in each event after the Intercollegiate Sectionals earn coveted slots. This is the first time that both the pistol and rifle club championships will be held in the same location, making the event bigger than ever.
USAMU Soldiers Staff Sgt. Josh Richmond and Sgt. Vincent Hancock are among a long list of SCTP alum that has used their experiences in the program to propel them to the heights of shooting. Hancock won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Skeet and Richmond has already qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in Double Trap. The next generation of SCTP heavyweights will make their way to the unit’s historic Hook Range and compete in the challenge.
Earlier this year the SSC program, primarily a juniors program, was expanded to offer college teams the opportunity to participate in the action pistol discipline of speed shooting in a competition format. The SSC recently held the SSC Fall Collegiate Challenge, with the Coast Guard Academy winning their second straight championship. The top-ranked “Coasties” aim to win a third consecutive title, soliciting Army cadets or other collegiate teams the chance to beat them on Army grounds.
The ASCSC will be sandwiched around the electrifying Army Strong Experience, hosted by the Maneuver Center of Excellence March 15-16. This event showcases the capabilities of the Army through demonstrations by an array of units on post.
Spectators can see the “Rangers in Action” demo, the Hands-on Training Exercise (HOTEX), the “Airborne 5000” demonstration and Fort Benning Silver Wings Skydiving exhibition, a shooting demonstration performed by members of the USAMU Shotgun team, and experience a culmination of hands-on and interactive Army systems via the Army Adventure Semi.
“There is no better way to showcase our Army and let our fellow citizens experience and witness ‘a Strength like no other’ than seeing our Soldiers in action,” said Hodne. “The positive Army impressions to be generated will last a lifetime.”
Check out www.usamu.com for information on the event and for teams interested in competing.