Marksmanship team shares Army experience with All-American Bowl guests


The world-class competitive-shooting Soldiers of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Shotgun team provide shotgun instruction and allow guests the opportunity to shoot shotguns during the All-American Bowl 2018, Jan 4, at the San Antonio Gun Club. The USAMU is a part of U.S. Army providing small arms marksmanship training for Soldiers and enhancing Army recruiting. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/Released

The United States Army Marksmanship Unit showcased the very best of their skills for VIP guests and Soldiers during Bowl Week for the 2018 US Army All-American Bowl at the San Antonio Gun Club, Jan. 4.

Since 1956, the USAMU has gained respect around the world for winning hundreds of individual and team competitions, including 40 World Championships and 20 Olympic medals. The team consists of the Army’s top trap and skeet shooters who track, aim, and shoot at 5-inch clay targets using 12-gauge shotguns.

“Today we will be meeting and engaging with participants of the Army All-American Bowl here,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Richmond, an Army Olympian and USAMU shooter instructor. “We will start by giving a brief unit history of our unit at Fort Benning, and how we impact the Big Army’s mission. We will then break down into smaller groups where they will be given individual instruction from a professional shooter and end with an exhibition shooting shot-gun trick show.”

During this special AAB event, civilian advocates for the Army, commonly known as Centers of Influence (COIs) were given the opportunity to shoot a 12-gauge shotgun.

“COIs can be anybody from a teacher, principal, or parent,” said Richmond. Here at the San Antonio Gun Club, they represented universities, industry partners and non-profit organizations that amplify the Army message to future Soldiers.

Both inexperienced and experienced shooters within the COI group received a safety brief from Lt. Col. Jim Barrows, USAMU commander, and Richmond before pulling the trigger. For some participants, this was their first experience with firearms and the opportunity to shoot was electrifying.

Sgt. 1st Class Glenn Eller, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and 2008 Olympic gold-medalist, put on a trick shotgun demonstration for educators and business leaders from around the United States Jan. 4, at the San Antonio Gun Club. The USAMU is a part of U.S. Army providing small arms marksmanship training for Soldiers and enhancing Army recruiting.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/Released

“It was really exciting for me, the blood starts moving a little bit faster and so does your heart, it was exhilarating,” exclaimed Dr. Donzell Lee, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Alcorn University. “I do not own a gun, and I’ve never shot one before.”

The marksmen explained the importance of safety, assisted the shooters in establishing a proper firing position, and most of all, urged the guests to let go of their nerves and have fun; assuring them they would be safe.

Staff Sgt. Derek Haldeman, a Soldier with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Shotgun Team, provides instruction on how to properly shoot and handle a shotgun at one of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl events Jan. 4, 2018. The world-class competitive-shooting Soldiers allowed guests the opportunity to shoot the shotguns and performed a trick-shoot demonstration.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/Released

“A lot of COIs who come out here have never touched a gun, we teach them stance how to mount, and safely load an unload a gun, and how to break a clay target; the basic fundamentals,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Weeks, USAMU. “We take the skills that we have learned in competition and we make it fun and entertaining.”

The Army All-American Bowl allows the USAMU the opportunity to educate COIs on the different opportunities the Army offers, strengthens partnerships and supports the Army’s goal of recruiting a high quality force.

“We support the purpose and cause of the ROTC program,” said Lee. “It’s so vast, there are so many things you can do in the Army, we see the All-American Bowl events as a great learning experience and an opportunity to help develop strong leaders for the military.”

USAMU Soldiers serve as ambassadors for the Army by showcasing their talent and the Army Values. These elite shooters leverage their natural marksmanship skills while serving their country at the same time.

“This is a great environment for us to introduce ourselves, tell our personal Army stories and tell the (COIs) what the Army has done for us,” said Richmond. “They get to hear it from the horse’s mouth, our individual Soldiers here, and they can then take it back to their small towns.”


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