Medals awarded to top shots at Far East Division Matches

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Chief Warrant Officer Scott W. Richards is awarded his second distinguished shooting medal following the 2013 Far East Division Matches award ceremony Feb. 1 at the Camp Hansen theater. (Photo by Cpl. Mark W. Stroud)
Chief Warrant Officer Scott W. Richards is awarded his second distinguished shooting medal following the 2013 Far East Division Matches award ceremony Feb. 1 at the Camp Hansen theater. (Photo by Cpl. Mark W. Stroud)

Medals awarded to top shots at Far East Division Matches

by: Cpl. Erik S. Brooks Jr., Marine Corps Installations Pacific | .
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published: February 09, 2013

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- An awards ceremony was held Feb. 1 at the Camp Hansen theater recognizing the winners and medalists of the 2013 Far East Division Matches.

Staff Sgt. Elliot A. Stanton, an electronic key management system manager with Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF, finished first in the individual pistol competition.

“Taking first in pistol was pretty exciting,” said Stanton. “Sweat, dedication, visualization and mental management are what made me successful. Even though this is my third division match, I am still learning new things about marksmanship.”

Finishing first in the individual rifle competition was Sgt. Brent M. Payne, a counterintelligence and human intelligence specialist with 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III MEF Headquarters Group, III MEF.

The Combat Logistics Regiment 35 rifle team was awarded the Lloyd trophy for finishing first in the team rifle competition. CLR-35 is a part of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.

The Marine Corps Base Camp Butler pistol team was awarded the Shively trophy for finishing first in the team pistol competition. MCB Camp Butler is a part of Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

The Far East Division Matches is one of four division matches held throughout the Marine Corps annually as part of the competition-in-arms program, according to Staff Sgt. Jonathan E. Shue, a small-arms weapons instructor with the Marine Corps Shooting Team, Weapons Training Battalion, Training Command, Training and Education Command.

“When Marines compete in division matches, they get detailed instruction on competitive shooting for the pistol and rifle,” said Shue. “The instruction is more in-depth than Marines’ annual rifle and pistol qualifications.”

During division matches, Marines fire 20 rounds standing from the 200-yard line and 20 rounds prone from the 500-yard line in addition to conducting reload during rapid-fire drills with the service rifle. For pistol matches, Marines must fire 30 rounds of slow-fire from the 25-yard line using only one hand and conduct rapid-fire and reload drills.

“This is one of the only intramural sports that directly reflects combat,” said Shue. “They come out of the competition better marksmen by learning the fundamentals and mental management.”

Shooting is 90 percent mental, and maintaining one’s focus and relaxation is key to succeeding in marksmanship competition, according to Stanton.

“Handling the pressure is a big part of mental management when shooting,” said Stanton. “Marines must calm down, clear their minds, and only think of what they need to do to shoot center target.”

Competitors who placed in the top 10 percent were awarded medals, as well as points for cumulative awards to be earned at future division matches. A gold medal is worth 10 points, silver 8 points and bronze 6 points. Once a Marine accumulates 30 points, they receive the distinguished shooter badge.

“There are currently only 50 or so Marines on active-duty who are distinguished in both the pistol and rifle,” said CWO Scott W. Richards, the captain for the MCB Camp Butler team and a newly double-distinguished shooter following the Far East Division Matches, his fifth division match.

“I intend to continue competing,” said Richards. “I still learn every time I compete. Everyone can learn from these matches, and those who master the fundamentals will be the ones awarded at the end.”

In 1775, Marines first stood atop naval vessels as sharpshooters, and throughout their history, Marines have shown the world that the deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle, according to Col. Richard D. Hall, the guest speaker for the ceremony, Camp Schwab commander and commanding officer of 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF.

“As our 29th Commandant Gen. Alfred M. Gray Jr. once said, ‘Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary,’ ” said Hall. “You have done what every Marine should continue to do in their career, and that is strive to be the greatest marksmen in the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”