Every year the New York State Military Forces participate in The Adjutant General Combat Shooting Matches. The matches include members of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard and New York Guard (State Defense Force). This year a New York Guard soldier secured the 3rd Place Ranking as well as achieving an aware for scoring the most bullseyes.
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Story by SPC Ed Shevlin, New York Guard State Defense Force.
Photos by CPT Steve Dubin, New York Guard State Defense Force, and SPC Amouris Coss, New York Army National Guard.
Above: New York Guard soldiers, alongside New York Army National Guard soldiers, prepare to sprint into their firing positions ahead of the pistol portion of the annual DMNA TAG Match at Camp Smith Training Site on June 3rd, 2018. Photo by CPT Steve Dubin, New York Guard State Defense Force.
CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, CORTLANDT MANOR, NY – As they have done every year for the past several decades, soldiers and airmen from across the State of New York gathered over the weekend of June 1st through June 3rd to compete in the 34th Annual The Adjutant General’s (TAG) Combat Shooting Match. The New York Guard, New York National Guard and the New York Air National Guard were all represented by service members competing in various categories which included Individual Pistol, Team Pistol, Individual Rifle and Team Rifle during the course of the three-day event. The TAG Match has proven to be a very beneficial exercise for all of the soldiers and airmen involved, as it fosters camaraderie, pride, and mutual respect among all competitors, all while honing their marksmanship skills. In the end, one New York Guard soldier would walk away having secured the 3rd place ranking in the Open Individual Pistol category, as well as a new award for scoring the most bullseyes overall.
Above: CPT Danielle Ruttman, 88th Area Command, New York Guard, fires her pistol during the annual DMNA TAG Match at Camp Smith Training Site on June 3rd, 2018. New York Army National Guard Photo by SPC Amouris Coss.
“You could all be at home this weekend with your families barbecuing, relaxing or otherwise having a good time, but you chose to be here at Camp Smith representing your unit, practicing your warrior craft, and thereby increasing your lethality on the battlefield, I admire your dedication” said Brigadier General Michel Natali, Commander of the 53rd Troop Command, in his comments during the closing ceremonies. This message was not lost on the New York Guard Pistol Team whose commitment extends far beyond the inconvenience of being away for a weekend. In the words of Colonel J. Raymond Mechmann, Commander of the 56th Area Command and the OIC for the NYG Pistol Team, “. . . like all good militia-men and women you do more with less, practicing week after week as volunteers, paying for your ammunition, range time, targets and sharing side-arms, your dedication is unparalleled.”
Hardships notwithstanding, thirteen members of the New York Guard Pistol Team turned out to compete at this year’s match, which represented approximately ten percent of the one hundred and three shooters in the match. The first event for the New York Guard competitors was the Individual Pistol event on Saturday morning, with swirling winds and a very warm and humid atmosphere, the weather conditions were less than perfect. The results from this competition were very impressive for the New York Guard team, with CPT Steve Dubin of the 12th Regimental Training Institute taking third place overall the Open Individual Pistol rankings, and winning the inaugural Tim Murphy Trophy for most bullseyes hit in the Individual Pistol, having hit ten bullseyes over four strings of ten rounds each. The Tim Murphy Trophy, a new addition to the annual TAG Match, was named for SGT Timothy Murphy, a Sharpshooter in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. While fighting in New York at the Battle of Bemis Heights, also known as the Second Battle of Saratoga, SGT Murphy killed British General Simon Fraser and his Aide de Camp Sir Francis Clerke with rifle shots fired from a tree at a distance of three-hundred yards. Following the loss of their leaders the British retreated from the field of battle.
Above: CPT Steve Dubin, 12th RTI, New York Guard, is awarded the SGT Tim Murphy “Bullseye” Award by BG Michel Natali, Commander of the 53rd Troop Command, New York Army National Guard, and CSM Corey Cush, Command Sergeant Major of the 53rd, at Camp Smith Training Site on June 3rd, 2018. New York Army National Guard Photo by SPC Amouris Coss.
Other New York Guard shooters also faired well in the individual competition, with six from the New York Guard team in the top 25 shooters of the Open Class, and two of the top 20 in the Novice Class. On Sunday morning, with mild temperatures and a lack of wind providing ideal conditions for the Team Pistol competition, the New York Guard fielded three teams of marksmen. Teams Devils 1, Devils 2 and Devils 3 were all well prepared for this event, but sudden sick calls affected Devils 1 and Devils 3. Each of these teams lost a soldier to sick call and it was determined by that TAG Match Administration that replacement shooters would not be allowed as this was a “combat match”, nor would the shorthanded teams be allowed to fire the missing soldier’s ammo.
In spite of these challenges, the results of the Team Pistol Match did not reflect the disadvantages faced by the New York Guard’s marksmen. In a field of twenty-two teams of four, Devils 2 took a very respectable 7th place, Devils 1, despite having to shoot shorthanded with forty-five fewer rounds going downrange ranked in 8th place, besting 13 full teams, and Devils 3 who were also shorthanded, avoided the last position in the rankings.
Above: New York Guard soldiers (L to R) Officer Candidate Andrew McNulty, SPC Ed Shevlin, MSG Steve Milito, and Officer Candidate Lauren Colasacco, pose between firing during the annual DMNA TAG Match at Camp Smith Training Site on June 3rd, 2018. Photo by CPT Steve Dubin, New York Guard State Defense Force.
The New York Guard team’s coach, CWO3 Hank Dester (RET) had this to say, “The NYG Pistol Team does very well even though the odds are always against us, we have been the champions several times. Our goal is teamwork, we have become brothers and sisters as we work together to win.” The team’s cohesive nature was immediately noticed by one of the team’s newest members, SPC Dev Shafeek of the 88th Area Command’s 14th Detachment, “We showed up as a unified NYG Pistol Team from different parts of the state to cheer each other on, to learn from each other, and to connect in the spirit of healthy competition.”
The full results of the 2018 DMNA TAG Match can be found here: http://dmna.ny.gov/sarts/tagmatch/Results/2018_TAGmatch_results.pdf
The New York Guard is the state’s volunteer emergency response and defense force and has served the people of New York State for over 100 years.