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Ms. Elder,
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Printable Version

LTG Blum Opens the 2006 National Matches

By Christine Elder, CMP Communications

On 10 July 2006, National Match competitors, officials, staff, volunteers and visitors gathered on Rodriguez Range for the Annual First Shot Ceremony. The First Shot Ceremony is the traditional opening for the National Matches. Lieutenant General H Steven Blum, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, had the honor of being the 2006 First Shot Speaker.

The 2006 National Matches is the 87th in an historic series of National Matches whose proud heritage looks back to the NRA “Annual Matches” that began in 1873, to the U. S. Government’s creation of the “National Matches” in 1903, to the establishment of Camp Perry as the home of the National Matches in 1907, to countless champions who walked Camp Perry’s hallowed ground and to tens of thousands who treasure their Camp Perry experiences.

Lieutenant General H Steven Blum, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, was the 2006 First Shot Speaker.  (Photo by Bill Gordon, Photomaker)

A native of Maryland, Lieutenant General H Steven Blum currently serves as the Bureau’s 25th Chief. As Chief, he is the senior uniformed National Guard officer responsible for policies, programs and plans affecting more than one-half million Army and Air National Guard personnel throughout the United States. He was appointed by President George W. Bush in January 2003, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 2003. He has been a Special Forces officer throughout his career, and has commanded at every level since taking charge of a detachment in the Maryland Army National Guard’s 20th Special Forces in November 1977. As NGB Chief, he serves as the Army's and Air Force's official channel of communication with the Governors and Adjutants General. Prior to his current assignment, General Blum served as Chief of Staff, United States Northern Command.

LTG H Steven Blum fires the first shot of the 2006 National Matches at Camp Perry, OH.  (Photo by Ruth Ann Anderson)

The Speakers Party for the ceremony included Major General Greg Wayt, the Adjutant General of Ohio, representing the Ohio National Guard, host of the National Matches; Ms. Judith Legerski, the Vice Chair of the CMP Board of Directors, representing the Civilian Marksmanship Program; and Mr. John Sigler, the First Vice President of the NRA, representing the National Rifle Association of America. The Honorable Chris Redfern, Member, Ohio State House of Representatives, District 80; the Honorable Robert Latta, Member, Ohio State House of Representatives, District 6, and the First Shot Speaker in 1998; Mr. Dennis Fligor, representing U. S. Senator George Voinovich; Ms. Stacey Oliver, representing U. S. Senator Mike DeWine and many other Distinguished Guests attended the Ceremony.

Admiral King High School NJROTC, Lorain, Ohio, provided the color guard for the First Shot Ceremony.  (Photo by Ruth Ann Anderson)

During the opening ceremony, General Blum emphasized how vital marksmanship is in today’s fight against terrorism. He credited skilled marksmen with being one of the reasons Americans have preserved their freedom. He said the 4th of July should never be taken for granted and that we must earn the privilege of celebrating that holiday every year. General Blum thanked each of the services for their dedication, devotion and sacrifice to protect our country. Also, he thanked the many youth who were present at the ceremony for their involvement in the National Matches and noted how they are the future of the Matches and the leaders who must preserve our country’s freedoms in the future.

The color guard for the First Shot Ceremony was the NJROTC Color Guard from Admiral King High School in Lorain, OH. Beth Daniels, of Toledo, Ohio, sang the National Anthem. She frequently sings the National Anthem before Toledo Mudhens and Toledo Storm games.

LTG H Steven Blum poses with Mr. Gary Anderson, DCM, after firing the first shot.  (Photo by Charles Abston)

LTG Blum shot the traditional First Shot with an M1 Garand. The M1 Garand was the single most significant small arms development in the history of modern welfare during WWII. After the target that was 500 yards downrange exploded, General Blum posed for pictures with each of the military teams that were in attendance. To view additional photos from the First Shot Ceremony, click on


The 2006 National Matches are now officially open and results from the new M9 EIC match are already posted on the CMP web site at The President’s Pistol Match, National Trophy Individual Pistol Match and National Trophy Pistol Team Match will take place on Sunday, 16 July, starting at 7:30 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow the day’s matches beginning at 5:00 p.m.

LTG H Steven Blum poses with juniors who work on the National Matches range crew and whose countless hours of hard work are necessary to set up the ranges for the matches.  (Photo by Bill Gordon, Photomaker)

LTG H Steven Blum also posed with each of the military teams present. LTG Blum is pictured here with the USMC Pistol Team.  (Photo by Bill Gordon, Photomaker)

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