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NH 'Team Alpha' brings home serious hardware from regional shooting match

By Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston

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A team of 13 New Hampshire guardsmen competed in the annual Military Advisory Council Region 1 (MAC 1) combat marksmanship match from Aug. 20 to 23 at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont.

They blazed through various pistol and rifle events and returned home with a haul of 22 awards, finishing second just behind Vermont in the final standings.

Maj. Brooks Hayward, senior team member and operations officer with the 941st Military Police Battalion, NHARNG, credits the successful showing to the Guard’s rededication to training.

“This past year, the program has been reinvigorated through a series of new initiatives that prioritize marksmanship training,” Hayward said. “This competition illustrates that those initiatives are having a positive effect, and soldiers’ skills are improving because of it.”

New Hampshire Soldiers and Airmen were split into four teams and led by a varsity squad of top shots: Capt. Patrick Randall, Staff Sgt. Joseph Wyner and Staff Sgt. David Musso and Hayward. The Soldiers powered their “Team Alpha” to six team and 12 individual awards.

“As a team for New Hampshire, we represented pretty well,” said Musso, reigning New Hampshire “TAG Match” champion. “We had a couple of novice individuals, which means first-time shooters here that placed really well.”

Top novices included Randall, who finished as the top overall aggregate competitor, and Senior Airman Igor Machado-Nunes, who placed first in combat pistol.
“I’m happy with my performance, but there’s always room for improvement,” Machado-Nunes said.

Regional matches are unlike plinking recreationally at a local gun range. Marksmen deal with weather conditions and fatigue while managing weapons, ammunition, magazines and other gear during strictly timed events.

“One of the things that this competition really does instill in the Soldiers and Airmen is the ability to engage those targets over varied distances, but they also have to complete all the other administrative tasks of handling the weapon; the manual of arms for them,” Hayward said. “Soldiers are reloading their weapons systems on their own. They have to arrange their gear, their magazines into positions that will best support that with both rifles and pistols. They’re given ammunition and then told to complete the course of fire. And if they’re unable to complete the course of fire correctly, then they’re penalized for it.”

“It really helps instill the sense of how to handle that weapons system appropriately, safely and effectively,” he added.

The whole experience was a first for Machado-Nunes, who despite being a skilled pistoleer, is still adjusting to combat-style shooting in full loadout.

“When you come out here and you have all that gear on you, and you have that extra weight, and they’re having us run around and do different drills and getting your heart rate up before you shoot, it really sets a whole different perspective when you’re shooting,” he said.

The goal moving forward is for competitors to learn from their experience and share knowledge with the force.

“The Soldiers who are here, they’ve worked pretty hard to get to this level,” Hayward said. “They’re now able to bring a lot of this knowledge back to their units and continue to build not only this program but build the readiness and lethality of their own units.”

Guardsmen interested in shooting competitively are encouraged to contact Wyner, who serves as state marksmanship coordinator, Musso or Master Sgt. Robert Valarese.

Full match results can be viewed at https://wpwafsam.weebly.com/mac-1.html

New Hampshire award winners and final standings:

Novice Class Individual Awards

Capt. Patrick Randall
First Place Overall – Excellence-In-Competition Rifle Match
First Place Novice – Individual Overall Aggregate
Second Place Overall and First Place Novice – Excellence-In-Competition Pistol Match
Second Place Overall – Warrior Challenge Aggregate (Combined EIC Aggregate)
Third Place Novice – The Rundown Match

Sgt. Nadthapong Wutisen
Third Place Novice – Close Quarter Battle
Third Place Novice – Reflexive Fire Match
Senior Airman Igor Machado-Nunes
First Place Novice – Individual Combat Pistol Match
Third Place Novice – The Rundown Match

Open Class Individual Awards

Maj. Brooks Hayward
Second Place Overall – The Rundown Match
Second Place Overall – Close Quarter Battle Match
Second Place Overall – Reflexive Fire Match
Second Place Overall – Individual Overall Aggregate
Third Place Overall – Excellence-In-Competition Pistol Match
Third Place Overall – Warrior Challenge Aggregate (Combined EIC Aggregate)
Staff Sgt. David Musso
Third Place Overall – The Rundown Match

Team Results

Alpha Team
Maj. Brooks Hayward (Second Place Individual Overall)
Capt. Patrick Randall (Ninth Place Individual Overall/First Place Individual Novice)
Staff Sgt. David Musso (Eighth Place Individual Overall)
Staff Sgt. Joseph Wyner (Seventh Place Individual Overall)
First Place – Anti-Body Armor Team Match
First Place – Falling Plates Team Match
Second Place – The Rundown Team Match
Second Place – Close Quarter Battle Team Match
Second Place – General George Patton Combat Pistol Match
Second Place – Team Pistol and Rifle Championship Aggregate

Bravo Team
Staff Sgt. Wayne Comtois (13th Place Individual Overall)
Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston (16th Place Individual Overall/Fifth Place Individual Novice)
Sgt. Nadthapong Wutisen (18th Place Individual Overall/Seventh Place Individual Novice)
Senior Airman Igor Machado-Nunes (35th Place Individual/22nd Place Individual Novice)
Third Place – Anti-Body Armor Team Match
Fourth Place – Team Pistol and Rifle Championship Aggregate
Fifth Place – Close Quarter Battle Team Match
Fifth Place – General George Patton Combat Pistol Match
Sixth Place – The Rundown Team Match

Charlie Team
Sgt. Timothy Huntley (21st Place Individual Overall/10th Place Individual Novice)
Staff Sgt. Jareth Belanger (31st Pace Individual Overall/18th Place Individual Novice)
Spc. Ryan Stone (33rd Place Individual Overall/20th Place Individual Novice)
Sgt. Haley Schultz (39th Place Individual Overall/25th Place Individual Novice)
Seventh Place – Close Quarter Battle Team Match
Eighth Place – Anti-Body Armor Team Match
Eighth Place – General George Patton Combat Pistol Match
Eighth Place – Team Pistol and Rifle Championship Aggregate
Ninth Place – The Rundown Team Match

Solo Team
Capt. Sean Connolly (24th Place Individual Overall/12th Place Individual Novice)