MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The US Army Marksmanship Unit took first place Tuesday at the 54th annual Inter-service Rifle Team Championship, edging out the Marine team, which came in second.
The precision shooting competition brought together members from all military branches here at Marine Corps Base Quantico to test advanced marksmanship skills. The event was hosted by the Weapons Training Battalion, home to the Marine Corps Shooting Team.
"This whole day has been a high point," said AMU team member Sgt. 1st Class Robert Shoup, a member of the Army Marksmanship Unit said. "It's so great to see us come together as a team and do what we've trained to do."
In addition to the Army and Marine teams AMU, three four other 10ten-member military teams participated in the event, including the Marine Corps Shooting Team, an Army Reserve team, a Marine Corps post and base team, and an All-Guard team with members drawn from the Army and Air National Guards.
Over the eight-hour event, shooters fired competition-grade M16S service rifles. Unlike the familiar standardized 7.5 pound M16s rifle, the specialized rifle is weighted to 16 pounds to improve balance, and has smaller iron sights, a free-floating barrel and an increased accuracy of up to 1,000 yards.
The competition consisted of four phases: 10 ten "slow" or single shots from 200 yards; 10 ten rapid-fire shots from 200 yards; 10 rapid-fire shots from 300 yards; and 20 slow shots from 600 yards.
Each shot was scored on a 10-point scale or by an "X" to mark a dead-center placement.
"The rapid-fires are the money machines; that's where the real points are scored," said Master Sgt. Jorge E. Carrillo, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marine Corps Shooting Team Staff NCOIC. "It's not just the individual shooter but the coach."
Coaches adjust for wind and other elements while observing through a spotting scope, guiding the shooter throughout the fire. Observing through a spotting scope, the coach adjusts windage as necessary and guides the shooter throughout the fire.
The Army Marksmanship Unit led with a total scoring of 4,917 and 167 Xs, with the Marine Corps Shooting Team trailing at 4,831 and 130 Xs.
The Army's team holds the record for the event with a score of 4,933 and 206 Xs, which was set by the AMU in 1999 with a score of 4,933 and 206 Xs.
The rifle competition was part of a 15-match shooting tournament running from June 24 to July 1, and included various individual and team competitions firing at distances from 200 to 1,000 yards.
The competition has been held every year since 1960, except for two years during the Vietnam War.
The tournament also prepared service members to compete against civilian marksmen in the 2015 National Trophy Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, in July and August.