New marksmanship opportunities open to Kentucky Airmen

  • Published
  • By Phil Speck
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 123rd Airlift Wing Marksmanship Team is introducing new opportunities to boost interest in the sport and help Airmen become more proficient with small-caliber weapons.

In addition to the annual adjutant general’s state combat training competition, two new meets were introduced last year — the first-annual Marksmanship Team Training and Competition Event and the Adjutant General’s Two-Gun Pistol and Rifle Scramble — said Staff Sgt. David Farc, assistant coordinator for the wing’s marksmanship team.

“These competitions put people in uncomfortable positions,” Farc said. “You’re not sitting at a desk in the air conditioning all day. You’re out there sweating and grinding in the heat. It gives us an opportunity to get Airmen who haven't experienced this level of competition under pressure out there so they can experience those conditions. It also helps prepare them for the harsh reality of a deployment.”

According to Farc, the first new meet was created with the intent to train new Airmen on qualification standards, as well as combatant skill sets in competitive contests. It was held at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Sept. 20-22. This event was open to all Kentucky Air Guardsmen who wanted to come out and shoot with the marksmanship team.

Airmen that competed in the match shot with the U.S. Air Force’s standard weapons, the M4 carbine and M9 pistol. Different events included shooting in standing, kneeling and prone positions. During these competitions, Airmen had to show proficiency with the weapons through multiple reloads and shooting at specific targets in a set order, all while racing the clock in a timed contest.

“A lot of people don’t realize when you get under a clock, the stress level elevates immensely, and exponentially,” said Senior Master Sgt. Darryl Loafman, occupational and weapons safety manager for the Kentucky Air National Guard. “Everyone that participated walked away qualified on the weapons they shot, so this event propagated readiness as well.”

The second new meet was the Adjutant General’s Two-Gun Pistol and Rifle Scramble. This event was open to all current and retired members of both the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard, and was held Sept. 26 at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Kentucky.

Farc explained that this match was designed by Maj. Gen. Stephen Hogan, a former adjutant general of Kentucky, to provide a more relaxed yet structured environment for people to shoot competitively.

“(General Hogan was) very focused on shooting and lethal skillsets,” Farc said. “He wanted to propagate that in a different way. He, as well as many of us in the shooting community, understand that competition is key in growing and acquiring skills.”

Several general officers and enlisted retirees competed. Farc won Top Gun at this contest, followed by Loafman and Airman 1st Class Austin Goldman, a communications technician in the 123rd Airlift Wing.

The third match where Airmen can sharpen their skills — one that has been around for many years — is the adjutant general’s state combat training event. It pits multiple Kentucky Army and Air National Guard shooting teams against each other in various contests, and was last held at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center July 20-21. In this match, the wing walked away with second-place overall team, with second-place pistol going to Loafman.

All three events strengthen qualification capabilities for Airmen, check the box to qualify at the range, and increases readiness statistics for the wing, Farc said. If you’re interested in learning more about the team, call (502) 413-4637.