BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said "Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other fields, on other days will bear the fruits of victory." On Thursday, April 14th 96 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines in Iraq had the opportunity to hone their warrior skills in such "friendly strife," but while also deployed to a combat theatre.
Members of all branches of the us armed forces participated in a M9 pistol Competition on FOB Slayer, Iraq. April 14, 2011. This is just one way for Soldiers and Officers to maintain proficiency while adding some friendly competition (U.S. Army photo by Sgt Matthew Friberg /Released).
They competed in the Task Force Dragon Commander's Trophy Competition and Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Match to test their pistol marksmanship abilities at Slayer range in Baghdad, Iraq. It was most likely the first-ever EIC match conducted in Iraq.
The matches are designed as both a competition and a training event, serving to train and support the war fighter. The Combat EIC match consisted of 40 shots of combined long range slow-fire and close range rapid-fire shooting to test the speed and accuracy of Task Force Dragon competitors. Many found firing 10 well-aimed shots in 15 seconds, including a magazine change, quite a challenge.
The organizer of the event was A Company 1SG Oscar Romine. 1SG Romine and his team spent three months planning for the competition.
Maj. David Cloft prepares for a M9 pistol Competition on FOB Slayer, Iraq. April 14, 2011. This is just one way for Soldiers and Officers to maintain proficiency while adding some friendly competition (U.S. Army photo by Sgt Matthew Friberg /Released).
MAJ Dave Cloft, who has been a competitive shooter for 26 years, commented, "This is one of the most organized and well run ranges I've ever seen, I'm very impressed. The leadership of Task Force Dragon recognizes the value of marksmanship and testing warriors in a controlled environment to improve their marksmanship abilities."
Service members were afforded the opportunity to earn EIC points in an effort to obtain their Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge, which is more prominent than normal qualification badges and eligible for wear on their uniforms. Many in the military are unaware of the Army EIC program which is governed by AR 350-66, nor do they know that all the services actually have a program to award preeminent marksmanship abilities.
The EIC program awards three levels of awards to shooters: bronze, silver and the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge. Army Marksmanship records show that only 1,754 members have earned the Distinguished Pistol Shot badge since 1873. The badge recognizes competitors who have obtained an exceptional score at multiple official marksmanship competitions against a field of their peers. Issued for both rifle and pistol, to obtain the Distinguished Badge a competitor must be awarded 30 credit points, often referred to as "leg points", when competing in the authorized excellence category of competition matches.
Pfc. Christopher Rodriguez participates in an M9 pistol Competition on FOB Slayer, Iraq. April 14, 2011. This is just one way for Soldiers and Officers to maintain proficiency while adding some friendly competition (U.S. Army photo by Sgt Matthew Friberg /Released).
The badge is a one-time decoration and may be worn for the remainder of an individual's military or civilian career on the Class A or Army Service Uniform (or service equivalent). Ten TF Dragon "Sky Dragons" earned four points towards their US Distinguished Badge and are now authorized to wear the EIC Bronze badge on their uniforms as a result of their performance on 14 April. As one young soldier was leaving the range he commented, we need to do this more often, this is the best day Ive had in Iraq yet!
The soldiers who scored enough points to earn their coveted bronze Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge, in ranked order of their finish are:
1SG Oscar Romine A Co HQ
MAJ William Byrd A Co FSE
SFC Aaron Miner 116th BSTB JVB
MSG James Semmler A Co J3
MAJ David Cloft A Co J5
SSG Joseph Retana 40th MP BN MP
MAJ Joseph Bowman B Co Surgeon
SPC Matthew Hawkins 116th BSTB JVB
LTC Forrest Woolley A Co PMO
SGT Brandon Schumacker A Co HQ
Prior to the Combat EIC Pistol Match the TF Dragon Commander hosted another 40 shot pistol match to find the best pistol shooters in TF Dragon. The results of this competition are as follows:
Junior Enlisted: SPC Robert Hayes 40th MP BN
Junior NCO: SGT Adam Gould 40th MP BN
Senior NCO: 1SG Oscar Romine USF-I, A Co
Warrant Officer: No Qualification
Junior Officer: 1LT Andrew Monaco USF-I, A Co
Field Grade Officer: MAJ Joseph Bowman USF-I, B Co
Lastly a Team Match was conducted that added the top four shooters scores per unit. The results of this competition are as follows:
Task Forces Dragons Commander Trophy Cup - Combat Pistol Company Team
1st Place - USF-I, A Co: 1SG Romine, MAJ Cloft, 1LT Monaco, LT Lundberg
2nd Place - 40th MP BN: SGT Gould, SSG Retana, SPC Hayes, SPC Pollock
3rd Place - USF-I, B Co: MAJ Bowman, MAJ Gray, SFC Nelson SPC
An awards program is scheduled in a few weeks after the results are certified by the Army Marksmanship Unit. The awards ceremony will be held in the atrium of the Al Faw Palace, headquarters for USF-I.
EIC matches are held throughout the US each year. For a list of Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge winners, follow this link:
http://clubs.odcmp.com/cgi-bin/report_distinguished.cgi?distType=PISTOL. To find EIC pistol matches in your area, visit CMPs Web site for more information: