First authorized in 1903 by Congress, the Civilian Marksmanship Program kicked off the annual marksmanship event in Ohio this week.
After a First Shots ceremony that included flyovers from World War II vintage TBM Avenger and B-17G bombers, and a convoy of restored armored vehicles led by a Sherman tank, the six-week-long competition got off to a strong start.
U.S. Rep. Robert Latta, R-Ohio, donned a shooting jacket and safety gear then shouldered an M-1 Garand to fire the opening shot of the event Monday. Latta also recognized U.S. Army PFC. Mark Kovach, on hand at the event, with awards in honor of his service in Vietnam.
“We wouldn’t have the country we have today if it wasn’t for those who have served before us,” said Latta. “I would like to thank the Ohio National Guard, the CMP and the NRA for their dedication to the National Matches.”
As noted by the CMP, a non-profit federally chartered corporation tasked with providing marksmanship training, the National Matches and Small Arms Firing Schools are authorized by law and were established by Congress and President Roosevelt in 1903.
Between now and Aug. 14, as many as 5,000 competitors and spectators will attend air gun, pistol and rifle competitions that include the National Pistol Championships, National Trophy Rifle Matches and World Championships.