Base Marksmanship Team News

Martinsburg, WV -- While we here in West Virginia were dealing with ice, snow and temperatures in the single digits, Tech. Sgt Garey Diefenderfer was opening our 2009 shooting season on a rifle range in warm and sunny Puerto Rico.

He had driven down to the airport at Raleigh-Durham, N.C., to meet up with some other Air and Army Guard shooters, and from there the group arranged for a C-130 to fly them to Puerto Rico, where they competed in the 2009 Puerto Rico State Rifle Championships at Camp Santiago. This match was sponsored by the Puerto Rico Rifle and Pistol Association and the Puerto Rico National Guard.

The first day on the rifle range was practice time for the civilian and military participants. In high-power rifle matches such as this the competitors begin by firing rapid-fire from standing and sitting positions at targets 200 yards away. They then fire rapid-fire from a prone position at targets 300 yards away. The final phase has them firing from a prone position at targets 600 yards away. Participants shoot either a service rifle (a military or military-style rifle such as the M- 1, M-14 or M-16) or a match rifle (any other competition quality center-fire rifle that fires a bullet of .22 to .30 caliber). Only metal sights are used - telescopic sights are not allowed in this type of competition.

The Individual Match was held Jan. 16, and Sgt. Diefenderfer, shooting a Match Rifle, took Second Place. The four-person Team Match was held Jan. 17. Garey joined three shooters from the North Carolina Army Guard to compete as a team. The team took first place by putting more rounds in the X-ring than the second place team (the X-ring is the small circle in the center of the bull-eye that is used to break ties). Afterward Sgt. Diefenderfer was presented a coin from the Command Sergeant Major of North Carolina for excellence in shooting and coaching.

The Puerto Rico State Championship ended with an EIC (Excellence in Competition) Leg Match on Jan. 18. A Leg Match is the same course of fire for participants, using a service rifle and not allowing any sighting shots. Sgt. Diefenderfer, dealing with 20 mile-an-hour wind gusts on the 600-yard firing line, won the Leg Match shooting a match M16 Service rifle.

Sgt. Diefenderfer has participated in high power rifle competitions for many years now and says that he enjoys shooting and coaching other military members and civilian marksman very much. He thanks the 167th leadership again for supporting the Marksmanship Team.

At the same time Garey was working on his tan in Puerto Rico, Capt. Rod Jenkins attended a State Marksmanship conference in Louisiana. Capt. Jenkins has stepped up to fill the position as OIC on the All Guard Service Rifle Team this year, since many Army Guard members are activated. This is a very prestigious and important position within the military competitive shooting community.

Our thanks and congratulations go to Garey and Rodney. Each time these two national-level competitors compete or instruct they demonstrate our motto of "Mountaineer Pride Worldwide."