CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy Marksmanship Team (USNMT) recently announced this year's match schedule for service rifle and service pistol competition.
The Atlantic Fleet and All-Navy East matches will run May 5-17 at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Pacific Fleet and All-Navy West matches will run April 6-15 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.
"The Navy competition shooting season starts with the Atlantic Fleet and Pacific Fleet matches," said Cmdr. Jon Marvell, USNMT officer in charge. "All Navy shooters from around the fleet, including Reservists and retirees, are invited to attend these competitions. From the fleet matches, we select the best 100 shooters from each coast to compete in the All-Navy matches -- east and west."
After the All-Navy matches, the top 20 shooters Navywide for pistol and the top 20 for rifle are invited to represent the Navy at interservice and national matches where they compete against the best shooters from all military services.
The interservice pistol match will be held at Fort Benning, Georgia, June 17-22. Interservice Rifle will be at MCB Quantico, from June 21-29.
Like last year, national rifle matches will be held in two locations: Camp Perry, Ohio, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana. National pistol matches will be held at Camp Perry, Ohio.
"Our primary focus at the fleet matches has always been to introduce new shooters to disciplined marksmanship competition with service pistols and rifles. We accomplish this with our Small Arms Firing School and our full match program. Last year we added a .22 Excellence-in-Competition match to the Atlantic Fleet Match. This gave experienced shooters the opportunity to earn additional awards and it gave new shooters an opportunity to warm up with a low recoiling target pistol before the service pistol matches began.
"In recent years," Marvell continued, "we have sought to incorporate more intermediate and advanced training for our more seasoned competitors. Last year we had a breakout training session with Lt. Keith Trapp, a member of the 2017 United States F-Class (Open) National Shooting Team, on wind reading. We also had a clinic on service rifle positions conducted by Cmdr. (ret.) Matt Bartel who won the 2014 National Trophy-Individual for rifle at Camp Perry.
"We also have the support and presence of the Retired Navy Shooters Association (RNSA). This group supports our matches and provide an opportunity for face-to-face interaction with people who were champions before many of our new shooters were born. RNSA members are match officials and referees, some still shooting competitively, still serving the Navy shooting community long after their military service has ended.
"The military is, and always will be, a profession of arms," said Marvell. "While the big Navy focus will always be on ships, aircraft and big weapons platforms, we cannot forget small arms skills at the deckplate level. The RNSA involvement in our matches helps link new shooters to the long-standing tradition of small arms in the armed forces and the nation.
"All of these resources are available at no cost to the shooter or his command, but they are priceless it terms of improving marksmanship skills.
"2018 will be our 57th annual Fleet Matches," Marvell concluded. "We've been doing this for a long time yet remain an unknown to so many in the Navy. Please spread the word. Every year we have dozens of sailors with no experience show up to safely learn about competitive marksmanship and the advanced techniques required to employ service-type rifles and pistols at or near maximum effective ranges. Even for those with no experience at all, they are welcome to join us and learn form the best in the Navy about safe and responsible small arms use, learn and practice advanced marksmanship in a safe and professional environment, and join a growing Navy shooting sports community."
For more information, shooters can visit the team website, www.usnmt.org or the Facebook group U.S. Navy Marksmanship Team.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Navy Shooting Team, visit www.navy.mil/local/navyshoot/.