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171st Marksman Wins First Place in Governor's Twenty Shooting Competition

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Shawn Monk
  • 171st Air Refueling Wing
Master Sergeant Ed Altmeyer and his team of marksmen from the 171st Air Refueling Wing won nine out of 20 available awards, with Altmeyer wining first place in the Pennsylvania "Governor's Twenty" Shooting Competition at Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville, Pa., Aug. 9.

The competition measures the skill of marksmen in the Pennsylvania Air and Army National Guard and by using both pistols and rifles to hit targets using only iron sights. The marksmen must quickly run to get into position and then shoot from the standing, kneeling and prone positions from ranges up to 400 yards. There are multiple stages of the competition. Each stage has a set position, a set amount of rounds to be fired, a set distance, a set time limit, a set amount of targets and a specified rate of fire. This year, 98 Guardsmen from across the state entered the competition.

The nine award winners from the 171st are listed as follows:
First Place: Master Sgt. Ed Altmeyer, 171st Security Forces Squadron
Second Place: Staff Sgt. Joe Mangino, 171st Security Forces Squadron
Seventh Place: Tech. Sgt. Mike Broker, 171st Security Forces Squadron
Twelfth Place: Lt. Colonel Joe Olszewksi, 171st Operations Group
Thirteenth Place: Tech. Sgt. Dan Parisi, 171st Security Forces Squadron
Fourteenth Place: Master Sgt. Bill Mayberry, 171st Security Forces Squadron
Seventeenth Place: Master Sgt. Mark Wilson, 171st Security Forces Squadron
Eighteenth Place: Tech Sgt. Eric Moskal, 171st Security Forces Squadron
Twentieth Place: Staff Sgt. Tim Ernst, 171st Logistics Readiness Squadron

"The team's success was a direct result of Master Sgt. Altmeyer's leadership and dedication as the marksmanship team coach," said Tech Sgt. Broker in an e-mail.

When asked how he felt about the success of the 171st team, Altmeyer said, "That's better than anything ... in the end, what they are gaining is valuable experience. It's not just go out and have fun; they are learning different techniques for when they deploy. It's training disguised as competition, and it's a combat multiplier."

The efficiency of Master Sgt. Altmeyer's leadership, in combination with the already existing talent amongst the team, explains how five teammates who have never participated in this competition were awarded on their first attempt.

The 171st team faced several challenges. During competition, they used M16A1 rifles, a weapon much older than what the competition was using. Other challenges the team faced was the limited length of the base practice range.

"Our range is only 25 meters, and in the competition, there is a 400-yard shot," Altmeyer said. During practice, the team does not experience the effects of wind and gravity on the bullet which come into play when shooting longer shots.

In addition to being a two-time first place winner of the Governor's Twenty, Altmeyer recently placed 37th out of 1,100 in the President's Hundred shooting competition. The President's Hundred competition is an old tradition that started at the American Military Rifle Championship Match in 1878. Unlike the Governor's Twenty, the President's Hundred is a national competition open to all military active duty, Reservists, Guardsmen, and civilian marksmen.

"I can't believe how excited I was to turn in that score card," Altmeyer said. Because this was one of his biggest and most prestigious events, Altmeyer knew he would be nervous during the competition. "Now that the weight is off my shoulders, I feel like I can win it."

Like most Guardsmen, Master Sgt. Altmeyer is a traditional Guardsman, meaning that he serves at least one weekend a month and two weeks a year -- a citizen airman. Fulltime, he works as a civilian police officer. He is also a member of the SWAT team.

The 171st marksmanship team is hoping to grow in size. If you are a current member of the 171st and are interested in joining, contact Lt. Colonel Olszewksi, Master Sgt. Altmeyer or Tech. Sgt. Broker.