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Marksmen score big at regional contest

Kentucky Army and Air National Guardsmen earned top honors during the Marksmanship Area Command III Combat Regional Marksmanship Competition held June 18-19, 2011, at Camp Butner, N.C. Kentucky's "A" team placed first in the pistol category and the Commonwealth's "B" Team tied for first place in rifle competition. The "A" team also placed second in overall competition and the "B" team placed third. (Courtesy photo)

Kentucky Army and Air National Guardsmen earned top honors during the Marksmanship Area Command III Combat Regional Marksmanship Competition held June 18-19, 2011, at Camp Butner, N.C. Kentucky's "A" team placed first in the pistol category and the Commonwealth's "B" Team tied for first place in rifle competition. The "A" team also placed second in overall competition and the "B" team placed third. (Courtesy photo)

CAMP BUTNER, N.C. -- Kentucky National Guard shooters have distinguished themselves again. Two joint teams of Army and Air Guardsmen earned top honors during the Marksmanship Area Command III Combat Regional Marksmanship Competition at Camp Butner, N.C., this summer.

Kentucky's "A" team placed first in the pistol category and the Commonwealth's "B" Team tied for first place in rifle competition. The "A" team also placed second in overall competition and the "B" team placed third.

The state marksmanship team's captain, Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Loafman, placed second in the individual pistol competition and second overall in individual fire.

"Kentucky shooters are among some of the best in the nation," said Loafman, who has competed at the regional and national level for more than a decade. "We often say that it's important to 'fight like a Kentuckian.' When it comes to marksmanship, we prove ourselves as top-notch warriors."

According to the sergeant, this exercise is a tune-up for the prestigious annual Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championship matches held at the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Ark.

This week-long competition is open to all National Guard shooting teams throughout the United States and features the top shooters from every state and territory.

Kentucky team member Tech Sgt. Bryan Hunt, an Air Guard combat controller who was competing in the MAC III for the first time, said the experience enhances the abilities of competitors and improves readiness as shooters return to their duty stations.

"I feel very confident that if I ever had to pick up my rifle and eliminate a threat from a ways away, I would definitely be able to do," said Hunt, who has been deployed to Africa and on his way to Afghanistan in November. He will be attached to either a Special Forces or Navy SEALs team.

Members of the Kentucky National Guard Marksmanship team are all talented, Loafman noted.

One case in point: the state's "B" team scored more points in the combined team match than the "A" team. But rules specified that the "A" team's scores were the only ones that counted in the team competition.

According to Loafman, five out of the nine Kentucky shooters on the team were new. "Both of our teams did very well," he said.

He said these new team members demonstrated a willingness to watch, learn and compete effectively.

"Our problem this year is we had too much talent," he said. "That is a good problem to have, but we had a lot of talent on our team. Our new shooters are very good, very talented."

2011 MAC III Results

· 1st Place Pistol Team: Kentucky "A" Team
· 1st Place Rifle Team: Kentucky "B" Team (tied with Tennessee)
· 2nd Place Overall Team Aggregate: Kentucky "A" Team
· 3rd Place Overall Team Aggregate: Kentucky "B" Team
· 2nd Place Individual Pistol: Master Sgt. Darryl Loafman, Kentucky Air National Guard
· 2nd Place Overall Individual: Master Sgt. Darryl Loafman, Kentucky Air National Guard