ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Combat Arms team (CAT) recently won the inter-service small arms competition (ISSAC) for the third consecutive year in the service academy category.
The competition consisted of pistol (15-50 yards) and rifle shooting (200-600 yards), each with variations on courses of fire, including obstacle courses, a two mile run and the use of a gas mask.
The competition, held near Little Rock, Ark., last month, pitted the team members against some of the best active duty, Reserve, and National Guard teams from across the country.
The ISSAC is a battle-focused competition that tests marksmanship skills in a tactically oriented environment.
The team was broken into alpha, bravo, and delta groups, said team captain Midshipman 1st Class Mark Radlinski. Alpha group won the championship; however, all three teams were in the running to win the competition.
"It was very satisfying to win the competition for the third straight year," said Radlinski. "CAT proudly carries the title and hopes to repeat again next year and keep the streak alive."
"Winning the competition took a lot of hard work and determination, but I feel we deserved it," said Midshipman 2nd Class Claude Berthold.
"The ISSAC competition was an outstanding opportunity for the midshipmen to interact and shoot with some of the best combat marksmen in the nation," said Marine Capt. Paul Funk, CAT officer representative. "There were exceptional shooters from all the active services, reserve forces, and National Guard in attendance.
"I have no doubt that our midshipmen are better warriors for having had this training, and it's a shame that Army couldn't find its way to this meet."
Over the three days of shooting, the team competed in 10 matches that tested their battle and marksmanship skills, as well as their physical fitness. Competitors fired the M-11 pistol, M-16A3 rifle, M-24 sniper rifle, M-249 squad automatic weapon, and the M-240G machine gun. Some stages of the matches included events in which competitors wore gas masks, used land navigation, and were tested on first aid knowledge.
"My favorite part (of the competition) was the multiple weapons match, in which we utilized medium machine guns mounted on light armored vehicles, sniper rifles and other weapons in a simulated combat environment," said Radlinski.
"By far the best part of the competition was the final match," said Berthold. "During this evolution, we had to fire mostly the M-16A3 rifle and the sig saur P228 9mm service pistol.
"We also had to divide into four-man teams, firing the M24 sniper weapon system and the squad automatic weapon."
As the team prepares for next year's competition, Berthold takes a lesson with him for next year: "Hard work and determination pays off in the long run."
Since 1996, the combat arms team has strived to promote the safe and accurate employment of tactical weapons in tactical scenarios. As a club sport, the 16 team members compete in local and national competitions throughout the year.
All team members are qualified members of the International Defensive Pistol Association, which is the governing body for this sport. The team is currently preparing to meet Army and Air Force in the tri-services meet held each spring.
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