DoD News, Defense Media Activity
CHARLES CITY, Va., May 21, 2015 – The sound of shotgun shots reverberate off the walls as the soldier steadies his breath for his next shot at a three-ounce clay target that will fly at about 44 mph from either a high house or low house.
He lines up the sight on his Beretta 682 Gold E and pulls the trigger, hitting yet another target during the 55th Annual Armed Services Skeet Championship here.
Army Maj. David Guida, a logistician with the directorate for logistics on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., began his shooting journey at 12 and is passing that journey on to his family.
“My parents bought me my first gun, a Remington 870 pump shotgun, for my 12th birthday,” said Guida, who hails from Crosby-Ironton in Minnesota. “It was big and heavy at the time, but I was a pretty big 12 year old as far as 12 year olds go. I duck hunted and shot grouse and squirrels with it. It worked well, and it still shoots straight.”
Quality Family Time
Guida said his father was a conservation officer who taught him about gun safety, a lesson he has shared with his children, who also shoot skeet. He said he still hunts with the Remington.
“My daughter, Billie, just turned 13, and she really wants to start shooting skeet,” he said. “My son, Matthew, is 15, and he already shoots with me. They’re both taking the referee test for skeet so they can come with me to shoots like this. My wife doesn’t shoot but she’s very supportive of the kids and I spending time together doing events like this.”
Guida has a machine to reload his own ammunition, and his children help him with the machine. They also team up together on their worship team at church.
“My daughter plays bass, my son plays piano and guitar, and then I play guitar,” he said.
Call to Service
While his wife, Jeannie, isn’t in the worship team and doesn’t shoot, Guida said he couldn’t do anything without her support.
“About a year ago, I returned from my fifth deployment, and she took care of everything and everybody while I was away. She just loves the military, and although she doesn’t like it when I’m away, she understands,” he said. “She understands that it’s for a higher purpose, and the call to service of the military is a big deal to her. She makes all of it possible.”
Guida has served three deployments to Iraq, one in Afghanistan and one in Kuwait. He began his Army career in 1998 as an infantryman and then received a commission through Officer Candidate School.
“I have loved working with the soldiers, and I have loved learning from some phenomenal leaders we’ve had across our formation in the Army,” he said. “I love every day I go to work. I have every intention to serve as long as the Army will have me.”
Throughout the week, Guida competed on his five-man Army team, alongside other five-man teams from other service branches consisting of active-duty, retired service members and honorably discharged veterans who competed in the 12-gauge, 20-gauge, 28-gauge, 410-gauge, doubles and high overall events.
He earned various awards including overall class champion, 28-gauge class champion, 20-gauge class champion and doubles class champion. He also earned multiple first-place medals in concurrent classes among his age group and active-duty military competitors. Many of the events were determined by shoot-offs.
He had previously competed in three Armed Services Skeet Championships and three world championships. He said in 2011, he shot 200 targets in a row without missing one. He said that doesn’t often happen and that missing targets shouldn’t discourage people from trying skeet shooting. He said shooting skeet is one of his resilience tools.
A 'Regenerating' Week
“I love shooting, shooting competition, and I absolutely love the outdoors,” he said. “I’m out here, it’s beautiful out, the targets are flying nicely, you get to shoot them; it’s a lot of fun for me. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be.”
Guida added, "This week is regenerating me. It’s giving me a good opportunity to have good conversations with a lot of different people. You meet retired veterans who have served in different services and different wars.”
There was a World War II veteran who had a hard time walking who came out one day to the skeet field who couldn’t see very well, “but on that particular day, he walked out onto the skeet field and ran a 100 straight,” Guida said.
“It was just amazing to see that,” the major said. “I was nowhere near a 100 straight that day, but this World War II vet could do it.”
Guida encourages any service member or veteran to reach out to their local Morale, Welfare and Recreation or Marine Corps Community Service office to find out about skeet in their local area.