DVIDS – News – New Hampshire National Guard Adjutant General’s Combat Marksmanship Match Welcomes International Competitors
FORT DEVENS, Massachusetts – Team El Salvador won the Remington “Vulcan” Trophy as Team Grand Aggregate Champion in the New Hampshire National Guard Adjutant General (NHNG TAG)’s 2023 Combat Marksmanship Match on Sept. 8, Ft. Devens, Mass. Cap. Robert Mitzelle, commander of Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain) won the 1LT Wheeler Award for Individual Pistol Excellence.
66 shooters from four different countries, including the United States, Canada, El Salvador, and Cabo Verde, compete for individual and team awards at the 3-day event from September 6 to 8.
The annual NHNG TAG match brings service members in the NHNG together to collaborate, train, and compete in 11 marksmanship skill events designed for pistols and rifles. The match was pushed to a new level in multicultural collaboration when an El Salvadoran military team competed for the first time in the history of the NHNG TAG match.
“It’s more than just shooting. It’s maintaining that profession of arms, professional marksmanship skills so that we are able to share and collaborate with our partners on best practices of tactics, techniques and procedures,” says Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities, The Adjutant General, NHNG, who has competed in almost every TAG match.
“What’s really unique about this event is that we have our allies and partners here. So it is a true international event to have us train with them.”
Subteniente (2LT) Alejandro Vesquez, a competitor and member of the El Salvador Army Special Forces, expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the NHNG TAG match.
“The firing ranges here are a lot more complex than the ones in El Salvador and I find it exciting,” said Vesquez.
“We’re very happy to be here and the people are so warm to us. I would like to say ‘thank you’ for all the efforts to make us feel welcome.”
Vesquez also mentioned a shooting match is a great idea to incorporate into his own unit training back home, which displays one of the many partnership benefits of the State Partnership Program.
“I think the TAG match is also a unique opportunity for our foreign partners to see how NCOs can not only execute plans,” explains Maj. Mario Rey, state partnership director, Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ), “but also gets involved in the planning process in a larger scale event like this, which is not so common in their countries.”
One of the match support staff, Staff Sgt. Wayne Comtois, senior marksmanship instructor in JFHQ, talks about the camaraderie brought out in this team competition environment, “The TAG match always creates great networking,” said Comtois. “Soldiers and Airmen get this rare opportunity to talk to each other with all different skill levels. They get to pick each other’s brains.”
The TAG match provides a comprehensive combat marksmanship assessment for people with various marksmanship skills to learn, practice and strive for excellence. While many champion shooters from the TAG match are representing the state of New Hampshire on the national level, novice shooters are also taking their first step towards mastery.
First-time contestant, Sgt. Nathaniel Sanborn, supply sergeant in 3643rd Brigade Support Battalion, who is an avid shooter outside the military, couldn’t hide his excitement to start the match.
“I love shooting. This is one of the biggest reasons that I joined the guard,” says Sanborn.
“I didn’t really have the ability to practice shooting in my personal life, so I want to take up any opportunities to build up my shooting skills. What’s a better start than the TAG match to learn from other people who have done it for several years?”
The various skill events in the TAG match allow participants to practice with intentions and reflect on one’s deficiencies for improvement. Hence, it started to pique more interest among both Army and Air National Guard service members.
“This is my first time shooting an M18 pistol and it is a learning experience.” Senior Airman Zachary Whipple smiles, combat crew communication of 157th Air Refueling Wing Operations Support Squadron, New Hampshire Air National Guard.
“I’m definitely prepared to come back next year, and I plan on doing better next year.”
|Date Posted:||09.10.2023 20:29|
|Location:||DEVENS, MA, US|
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