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NEWS | July 31, 2016

KY Guardsmen Compete for Top Gun Story by Sgt. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment Kentucky Army National Guard

By Sgt. Brandy Mort 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The event brings together the state’s top shooters from the Army and Air Force. Competitors participate on an individual, as well as team level. All team members had to be from the same Battalion or equivalent type unit.

The 238th Regional Training Institute’s team consisted of Maj. Timothy Mitchell, brigade supply officer and Staff Sgt. Shahid Iqbal, supply sergeant. This year was Mitchell’s first year, Iqbal’s second.

“I like to practice shooting a weapon on the civilian side, so I thought it was interesting to learn how we are able to shoot within the state,” Mitchell said. “I thought it was great to be able to learn from the trainers, as well as my teammates and fellow competitors.”

While this event was a learning experience for Mitchell, Iqbal said he was honored to be able to help his teammate along the way.

“My plan is to come back as many times as I can and help train and guide others along the way. This event is a great asset because I can also take back the lessons I am taught here, and bring them back to my unit to help others,” Iqbal said.

Match Non-commissioned Officer in Charge, Master Sgt. Edwin Garcia, the match non-commissioned officer in charge of the event, and a Soldier assigned to the Kentucky small arms readiness section, enjoys the esprit de corps that it brings to the different military branches as well as the teams during the event.

“It is great to see competitors, new and old, get out there and shoot,” Garcia said. “It is a great training aid for all of the participants.

“Every shooter is different, so there are different challenges each participant faces,” he said. “This event gives them an opportunity to learn, while also increasing their accuracy as a shooter.”

Kentucky’s State Command Sgt. Maj., David Munden, was at the event and offered up words of encouragement to the troops as they began shooting, and also as they waited for the other iterations to shoot.

“It’s good training and good competition for our Soldier’s and Airmen,” said Munden, “One of the most important skill to have is to be able to fire your weapon accurately. This kind of competition adds to their knowledge and increases their skill level, while adding a little friendly competition amongst the ranks.”

The Kentucky National Guard awards the “Governor’s Twenty” to the top 20 participants in the competition. The award is only given on one occasion, once you have earned the “Governor’s Twenty” you keep the award and the patch. The participants who haven’t won the tab must out perform those that have already earned it in order to receive the award.

This year, four competitors received the highly prestigious, “Governor’s Twenty” award for the very first time. The award comes with a patch the Guardsmen can proudly wear on their uniform. Recipients of this year’s award were: Sgt. 1st Class Edward Cole, Tech. Sgt. Jeff Stanley, Staff Sgt. Joel Campbell, and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Joynt.

Team, Individual, and Overall Awards were given for the Top 3 Pistol and Top 3 Rifle shooters.

For the individual awards: 1st Place Pistol was awarded to Staff Sgt. David Farc, 1st Place Rifle was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Borders, and Top Gun, awarded to the top overall shooter, was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Eric Dean.

For the team awards: 1st Place Rifle was awarded to Air Guard B, which consisted of Senior Master Sgt. Darryl Loafman, Master Sgt. Tim Kenney, Master Sgt. Travis Keehner, and Tech Sgt. Jeffrey Stanley
. 1st Place Pistol and 1st place overall were awarded to Air Guard A, which consisted of Staff Sgt. Jacob Fuller, Staff Sgt. David Farc, Tech Sgt. Daniel Creed, and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Larimore.

This year’s event was one of the largest in recent history. The sponsors are looking to boost participation to more than 100 participants for the next event.

If you, as an individual, or your unit, would like to refine your skills and participate in this training event, or if you would like any additional information for this event or future events, contact Sgt. 1st Class Eric Dean via telephone @ 502-640-1869 or via e-mail @ james.e.dean26.mil@mail.mil or jdean@kentuckyguard.com.

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