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Marksmen Compete In Honor Of Georgia Veteran And Amputee
by U.S. Army Capt. William Carraway - March 28, 2015

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GEORGIA GARRISON TRAINING CENTER, Fort Stewart, Ga. - The second-annual Andrew Sullens State Marksmanship Competition was held Feb. 27 to March 1, 2015, at the Georgia Garrison Training Center on Fort Stewart, Georgia. The competition, named after Georgia Army National Guardsman Andrew Sullens, is a premiere marksmanship event hosted by the Georgia National Guard Marksmanship Team. The competition goes beyond the traditional weapons qualification by integrating additional weapons systems and incorporating a simulated battlefield shooting scenario.

February 28, 2015 - The Georgia National Guard's 2015 Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition at Fort Stewart, Ga. wrapped its second day of competition with combat rifle series and the Bianchi Battle completing six stages incorporating shotgun, rifle and pistol. The awards ceremony culminated recognizing historical firsts (first female and Air National Guard competitors) and served as a force multiplier with competitors extending their service. (Georgia Department of Defense photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith)
February 28, 2015 - The Georgia National Guard's 2015 Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition at Fort Stewart, Ga. wrapped its second day of competition with combat rifle series and the Bianchi Battle completing six stages incorporating shotgun, rifle and pistol. The awards ceremony culminated recognizing historical firsts (first female and Air National Guard competitors) and served as a force multiplier with competitors extending their service. (Georgia Department of Defense photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith)

The purpose of the competition is to provide members of the Georgia Department of Defense with the opportunity to train marksmanship skills in a realistic battle environment. Ten four-shooter teams and two sniper teams competed collectively, and as individuals, for team recognition and the right to wear Georgia's newly created Governor's Twenty Tab. The tab takes its design and inspiration from the President's Hundred Tab, which recognizes the 100 top-scoring military and civilian shooters in the President's Pistol and Rifle Matches.

"The path to the President's Hundred starts here," said Sgt. 1st Class Jakob Raven, one of the organizers of the Sullens Competition.

To get the coveted tab, shooters would have to negotiate a series of shooting challenges using several weapons systems in complex battle-focused shooting scenarios over two days of intense competition. Teams first competed with the M-9 pistol on the known-distance range, engaging a series of targets from the prone, kneeling and standing positions. Next, the teams engaged targets while moving under combat load. Transitioning to the rifle, teams engaged targets during rapid-fire scenarios of varying distances.

In the final scenario, participants conducted a timed shooting scenario simulating target engagements with the rifle, pistol, shotgun and sniper rifle. Following a half-mile run to the small arms range, participants engaged targets with the M11 double-action shotgun, while adhering to strict safety standards and utilizing covered firing positions. After safely clearing the M11, participants engaged targets with the rifle while behind cover, first from the right shoulder and then from the left, challenging them to shoot with their non-dominant eye, off-shoulder in keeping with possible battlefield terrain restrictions. After safely clearing the rifle, shooters engaged targets with the M9 pistol, placing shots as prescribed before moving to the M24 sniper rifle challenge to hit long distance targets.

In addition to the innovations in shooting scenarios, the 2015 Sullens Competition featured an expanded roster incorporating teams from the Georgia Army and Air National Guards. Volunteers of the State Defense Force assisted in the administration of the shooting competition, thus the 2015 competition featured all components of the Georgia Department of Defense.

Retired Specialist Andrew Sullens was on hand providing motivation and assistance. Wounded in Afghanistan in 2009, Sullens continues to inspire through service. During the competition Sullens assisted with ammunition inventory and target set up for the marksmanship event that bears his name; He also directly mentored shooters and discussed his life experience.

For the second year in a row, the four-person team from the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team finished first overall.

The team, composed of 2nd Lt. Barrett Sathianathan, Cpl. Ashton Sanford, Sgt. Daniel Gonzalez and Sgt. Samuel Huston were congratulated by Sullens, who also congratulated the recipients of the Governor's Twenty.

Colonel Thomas Carden, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard congratulated the competitors and praised competition as an innovative training tool.

"Programs like these move the readiness needle," said Carden. "We want to enable you to reach your full potential and we congratulate our Georgia Guardsmen for wanting to continue with their career mission."

The Sullens Competition offers service members the ability to train on weapon systems they might not normally use and share experiences with marksmen in other service components. Participants come away with new skills to share with their home units as well as a sense of camaraderie borne of shared interest and service.

"Our hope is to see the competition grow year after year by, fostering an environment of common mentorship and marksmanship," said Sgt. 1st Class Raven.

More photos available below

By U.S. Army Capt. William Carraway
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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