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News | Aug. 25, 2023

NHNG wins regional marksmanship match

By Master Sgt. Charles Johnston

New Hampshire National Guard shooting squads won gold and silver for a second-straight year at a regional match held Aug. 18- 20 at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont.

The Marksmanship Advisory Council “MAC” Region 1 Championships featured competitors from throughout New England and New York.

“I am humbled by the performance of the team, all of our shooters and feel honored to bring back an overall first and second place win for the region,” said Capt. Patrick Randall of Recruiting and Retention Battalion, whose Team Alpha narrowly defeated NH Team Bravo.

Vermont Team Alpha placed third.

The MAC engages competitors in annual battle sustainment exercises, which enhances pistol and rifle marksmanship skills and mobilization readiness.

New Hampshire’s 11 competitors earned a whopping 30 team and individual awards. The dominant performance secured an official invite to next year’s prestigious “All-Army” small arms championships at Fort Benning, Georgia.

“It shows how strong our marksmanship program is and how well our coordinator facilitates the training,” said Tech. Sgt. Connor Cunio of the 157th Air Refueling Wing and Team Alpha’s top shot.

The marksmanship program coordinator, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Wyner, found himself with an enviable pre-match task: choosing from a deep pool of talented marksmen for the state’s top four-man team. Rules mandated he choose one “new” competitor who had never fired on an Alpha squad.

After poring over recent shooting scores and match regulations, Wyner and Randall found themselves ranked too closely for a data-driven decision. So they flipped a coin.

“I do not recall a time when the first and second place teams were so evenly matched,” Randall said, who won the toss, the gold, and—at least until next year—bragging rights. “The training and preparation by Wyner are unmatched.”

Picking teams is unlikely to get any easier moving forward, especially with newcomers like Capt. Robert Matzelle bursting onto the scene. The Charlie Company, 3rd of the 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain) commander placed first in the novice category, won seven individual awards and helped power Team Bravo to second place.

“I am thankful to all the other members of the team for taking me under their wing and showing me the way to perform well in competition,” Matzelle said. “Without their help, I could not have achieved the results that I did.”

Winning results achieved through Wyner’s continued emphasis on practice, preparation and team chemistry.

“It is always a fun time," Cunio said. "Laughing and training with the team is a major factor in the success. If we aren’t shooting, then we are laughing. That’s the way the program has become, and I am all for it.”