Military News

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guard’s top shooters honored at Winston P. Wilson matches

By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau
Click photo for screen-resolution image
CAMP JOSEPH T. ROBINSON, Ark. (9/11/13) - The top marksmen from throughout the National Guard were honored in an awards ceremony at the conclusion of the 42nd annual Winston P. Wilson Championship marksman competition.

The Wilson competition tests the abilities of shooters from throughout the Guard in a number of scenarios based on both individual and team proficiency with rifles, pistols and shotguns.
"It's very competitive," said Spc. Ryan Hale, with the Texas Army National Guard's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 143rd Infantry Regiment. "It was pretty nerve wracking on some of these matches."

But for Hale, who took first place in a number of pistol and rifle categories, the competition was also a place to learn.

"Guys are here to win," he said. "But, at the same time everybody is helping each other out on the line."
Hale said he learned different techniques that he can apply at next year's matches.

"I've learned a lot," he said. "I've learned different shooting positions and improvements on the fundamentals of marksmanship and just how important it is to practice those things and become more proficient in what we do."

And that is the larger point to the matches.

"What I like about this program is the older competitors will always help the newer competitors," said Sgt. 1st Class Micah Marchand, a member of the National Guard Marksman Training Unit who ran several of the matches. "It's very rare that you'll see the more experienced shooters not help the younger shooters."

And becoming a proficient marksman-especially one at the competition level-takes time.

"It's a long, drawn out process and it's something that develops over the years," said Marchand. "It took me a good three to five years to finally become a successful marksman."

Becoming a successful marksman, as well as preparing to shoot in the competition, comes down to practice.

"Practice is important," said Hale. "And knowing the course of fire. Those are the most important things you can do before coming here."

Hale, who took first place in four of the close to 30 competition matches, said he felt he could have been more familiar with the courses of fire.

"I knew them a little bit before coming out here, but I got a lot of help from those who have done it before and then learned the rest on the fly," he said, adding that while firing he was just hoping that he didn't miss.

And once he gets back to his unit, Hale said he has an obligation to pass on what he's learned at the competition.

"My unit has given me a lot of support to come here," he said. "But they also expect that that when you come back you train your other Soldiers on marksmanship. It's  a very perishable skill and being at these matches, you end up teaching a lot of people when you go home."

Hale said he's looking forward to passing on things he's picked up at the competition and added that he didn't expect to do as well as he did.

"I was surprised by it," he said. "There's a lot of really good shooters out here. I was just happy to come out and get to shoot."

Travis Welcomes Surgeon General from Royal Thai Air Force

by Senior Airman Madelyn Brown
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

9/6/2013 - Travis Air Force Base, Calif.  -- Top ranking officials from the Directorate of Medical Services within the Royal Thai Air Force exchanged methods, processes and ideas with the 60th Medical Group commander and staff Aug. 27 and 28 during a tour of Travis Air Force Base.

The distinguished visitors included Air Marshal Chuphan Chansmorn, RTAF Surgeon General, Air Vice Marshal Supit Prasopsil, RTAF Expert, Group Captain Niwat Intarawichian, deputy director of department of preventive medicine, and Wing Commander Watcharaporn Paorohit, vice chief of education division. Their ranks equate to lieutenant general, major general, colonel and lieutenant colonel, respectively.

"We are all very excited to see David Grant USAF Medical Center," Prasopsil said.

In Thailand, the ten hospitals that fall under the RTAF are spread throughout the country, Prasopsil said. Unlike the U.S. Air Force medical centers, RTAF hospitals are tasked with caring for a large portion of the civilian population.

"We have many patients in Thailand," Chansmorn said. "Eighty percent of our care is going to civilians and only 20 percent to military personnel."

Chansmorn explained because California has many local civilian hospitals spread throughout the state, the U.S. Air Force hospitals can focus on providing care for military personnel.

More than 20 years ago, before Chansmorn was the top ranking military personnel in the Directorate of Medical Services within the RTAF, he traveled to the University of California, San Francisco to observe their medical procedures.

To observe other medical centers and their practices provides further knowledge for the RTAF, he said.

"Now we need to know about the Air Force medical centers and see how they take care of Air Force personnel," Chansmorn said.

The RTAF Surgeon General and staff were interested in visiting DGMC to gain a better understanding of how the U.S. Air Force manages preventative medicine, public health, occupational health and aerospace medicine.

"We are all Air Force personnel so to mesh together and learn from one another is beneficial," Chansmorn said.

After Col. Kevin Connolly, 60th MDG commander, completed the DGMC mission brief for the RTAF staff, the Surgeon General presented the RTAF mission video for the 60th MDG staff.

Historical facts such as the humanitarian airlift aid provided during the Vietnam War were presented throughout the video, as well as the RTAF core values.

The RTAF core values are represented through the acronym AIR, Prasopsil said. Airmanship, integrity and responsibility are the components that RTAF follow as guiding principles throughout their service.

At the conclusion of the DGMC tour, the RTAF Surgeon General expressed his gratitude to Connolly and the DGMC staff.

"I would like to thank you for your hospitality and the warm welcome," Chansmorn said. "This has been a great opportunity. The briefing was comprehensive and interesting. It is a great benefit to the Royal Thai Air Force's future."