Countdown to the U.S. All-Army Small Arms Championships (VIDEO)

Several months from now, March 1-10, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, along with the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, will host the 2012 U.S. All-Army Small Arms Championships. 

The “All-Army,” as it’s known colloquially, is an annual competition that is open to “all Soliders of any rank in the entire Army formation, including West Point and college ROTC cadets, Army Reservists and National Guardsmen.”

The best part about the “All-Army,” in addition to being a week-plus of fun-filled competitive shooting, is it’s free!  There is no cost to compete in the championship and the Army provides all the ammo.  Competitors can expect to shoot hundreds of rounds in the different events.

The competition is structured in a way so that shooters compete in different classes, which are based on experience.  Those four classes include: Cadet, Novice, Open and Pro. 
Moreover, there are “special categories for high drill sergeant, high novice and high-enlisted Soldier, Guard, and Reserve (E1-E4). Cadets enrolled in an Army ROTC program are eligible for scholarship money.”

And as for the firearms used in the competition, Soldiers “will fire M-16 or M-4 service rifles at distances between 25-500 yards and M-9 pistols between 7-35 yards in a variety of courses of fire. There is also a combined arms match, where competitors employ the rifle, pistol and shotgun in a number of exciting stages of fire.”

Additionally, “During the pistol and rifle matches there will be an Excellence-in-Competition Match and all Soldiers can earn points toward their EIC Marksmanship Badges, which are the most coveted marksmanship badges that can be earned and worn on a military uniform as described in Army Regulation 600-22 and have precedence above the standard qualification badges”

“Marksmanship is a critical link in the chain of Soldier skills,” said Maj. Gavin Rice, operations officer, USAMU. “The 2012 U.S. Army Small Arms Championship, or ‘All-Army,’ is an opportunity for Soldiers to train with the best marksmanship instructors in the Army, increase their level of marksmanship proficiency through competition, and raise the Army’s overall combat readiness.”

In addition to the individual events, there are Battalion-level and up team events that are very popular (See Video from 2010 “All Army”). 

“One of our most basic skills required as a Soldier is marksmanship,” said Army Reservist
Sgt. 1st Class Russell Moore, last year’s overall individual champion. “Take away our small arms and what are we? The All-Army Small Arms Championships not only provides the training every Soldier needs to excel in marksmanship, it also provides a means in which to test it among their peers.”

Last year, a record-breaking 300 shooters competed in the “All-Army.”  In March, organizers are hoping to top that mark.

If you’re thinking about attending or for additional information, check out USAMU website at www.usamu.com.