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The Civilian Marksmanship Program is dedicated to the respect for and safe handling of firearms, instilling patriotism and discipline in our youth participants.  The CMP provides its constituents with the highest level of instruction in the proper control of firearms by highly-skilled coaches and veteran range safety officers in the classroom, at our ranges and wherever the CMP banner is displayed. 

Upcoming CMP Events:

Tuesday & Thursday Night Open Public Shooting
CMP Marksmanship Centers,
Port Clinton, OH
Anniston, AL

Shooters, including aspiring new shooters are invited to take advantage of a new opportunity to do practice shooting.  Both ranges consist of 80-point, 10-meter air gun range and are fully equipped with electronic targets that accommodate air rifle, air pistol or National Match Air Rifle shooting.  Instruction and equipment are also available.  Visit
MarksmanshipCenters.htm  for additional information.

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Printable Version

CMP’s First Shot Ceremony Observes WWII Battles, Triumphs of Decorated Olympian
By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer


CAMP PERRY, OH – The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) ceremonial First Shot Ceremony on July 7, 2014 at Rodriguez Range in Camp Perry, OH, celebrated more than the beginnings of the National Matches – it also commemorated the sacrifices of America’s Greatest Generation. The date of the ceremony coincidentally fell on the day two significant World War II battles transpired, sparking the need to honor the overlapping historical moments through words, sights and reenactments. Exactly 70 years ago, on July 7, 1944, American military personnel were active in both the European and Pacific theatres during World War II. That day in Normandy, France, U.S. forces were advancing upon the town of Saint Lo in an attempt to liberate it from the Germans. In another part of the world, that same day, U.S. forces resisted the largest banzai charge of the Pacific War on the island of Saipan.


Gary Anderson showed perfect poise as he delivered the ceremonial First Shot to kick off the National Matches. Anderson donated the rifle to the CMP, to be put on display at the new Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center.

With Sherman tanks battling for more than three weeks to free Saint Lo, the U.S. 29th Infantry, with the help of the 30th and 35th Divisions, infiltrated and ran off the German troops. On Saipan, the Japanese engaged the U.S. Army and Marine Units, wounding and killing some 650 soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th Infantry Regiment. However, with fierce resistance, Saipan was officially under U.S. control two days later.


Two-time Olympic gold medalist and winner of multiple National and World Championships, Gary Anderson, addressed the crowd on his career and the importance of community during his First Shot speech.

Equipment similar to that used in each battle were on static display during the First Shot Ceremony, including a World War II AMTRAC – an amphibious beach landing craft, on loan from Tom Price of Bowling Green, OH. The vehicle was used in the Clint Eastwood film, “Flags of Our Fathers”, and was the same type used during the Battle of Saipan.


CMP Chairman Judith Legerski served as emcee during the First Shot Ceremony.

Other vintage vehicles used during the battles, such as an M4 Sherman Tank, were mobilized as the crowd watched in awe. The tank, known as “Thunderbolt,” proudly and confidently rolled down the gravel road between Rodriguez and Petrarca ranges, followed by the Toledo-made Willy’s Jeeps to complete the ground parade.

Thunderbolt was present at the ceremony courtesy of the Allen County Museum and Historical Society in Lima, OH, while the Jeeps were on loan from the Firelands Military Vehicle Group.  


The 122nd Army Band played the National Anthem, Armed Forces Salute and other fanfares during the ceremony.

As the vehicles patrolled the grounds towards the stands, the crowd looked to the skies as the aerial show began. A Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bomber gracefully buzzed through the cloudy skies, trailed by a B-25 medium-range bomber, “Yankee Warrior.” Both planes made a booming entrance as they cascaded through the air above. 

A pair of World War II German Flak Guns, from the Liberty Aviation Museum and private owner Chris Weiss, rat-ta-tat-tatted as the planes jetted through the clouds, simulating an anti-aircraft resistance to the bombers.


The CMP was honored to have World War II veteran Jack Price deliver the colors. Price was present at the invasion of Normandy and also served in the South Pacific.

The torpedo bomber is owned by Charlie Cartledge and was flown from Port Clinton’s Liberty Aviation Museum. Yankee Warrior hails from the Yankee Aviation Museum and was flown from Willow Run Airport in Belleville, MI.

The wind from the blustery day howled as the ground and aerial performances met to reenact a World War II raid. Reenactors in authentic military helmets and uniforms rode tall in the vehicles as the planes flew overhead. Carefully placed pyrotechnic bombs and controlled smoke exploded alongside the range berms, simulating a true air invasion.


Veteran Jack Price handed off the colors to Susie Charlton, whose father served at the Battle of Saipan.

Once the planes made their passes and the ground troop applied its resistance, the crowd roared and once again drew their attention to the center of the ceremony field as the presentation of the colors began. The CMP was honored and privileged to have the American flag that flies over Camp Perry for the duration of the 2014 National Matches hand-carried by two lives that were personally touched by the happenings of World War II.

Mr. Jack Price, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II who served both at the Normandy Invasion and later in the South Pacific confidently walked across the ceremony field as the audience respectfully praised him with applause. Mr. Price handed off the folded colors to Mrs. Susie Charlton – the daughter of the late U.S. Marine Raider PFC Robert Lano, of Port Clinton. Mr. Lano fought in the Battle of Saipan. Mrs. Charlton marched the flag to the pole for the color guards to slowly hoist into the air.


A World War II AMTRAC, amphibious beach landing craft, was brought on a large truck bed and set up for display in the Petrarca Range parking lot. Spectators were able to climb inside of the vehicle for an up close look.

As the flag flapped in the breeze, the 122nd Army Band played the National Anthem. After distinguished guests were acknowledged, the First Shot Speaker, Gary Anderson, was introduced to the crowd. Anderson is known as one of the best shooters in American history, making his presence at the First Shot Ceremony something truly memorable for all in attendance.

Anderson began his marksmanship career in the fields of Nebraska as a boy, eventually moving on to become a member of the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, GA, in 1959. As his skills flourished and improved, he went on to produce two Olympic gold medals, seven World Championships, six World Records and 16 National Championships. No American has ever won more three-position rifle titles than Gary Anderson. 


A World War II torpedo bomber and B-25 made four passes over the Camp Perry ranges. The planes opened their bomb doors and “dropped” explosives onto the ground fleet below.

As Director of Civilian Marksmanship Emeritus, Anderson continues to influence juniors in shooting sports in the United States and around the world. Under his direction, the CMP installed eleven new events to the National Matches, helping to increase the participation from 2,250 to 5,000, as well as expanding the opportunities for eager competitors.

In 2012, he was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Order. The Order is the highest award given by the IOC and is awarded to individuals for distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement.

On July 7, 2014, the new Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center was dedicated in Anderson’s honor. The center, located at Camp Perry, houses classrooms and a world-class air rifle range for the future development of junior marksmen everywhere.


Ground pyrotechnics simulated a real aerial assault from the planes above. Anti-aircraft units on the ground “fired back” during the reenacted battle.

For the ceremony, Anderson dusted off a rifle from his personal collection that was used to win two NRA National Highpower Rifle Championships, one NRA National Long Range Rifle Championship, three President’s Rifle matches and many National match trophies. It was also used to shoot the national record target (1971, 200 yards standing, 200-15x).

As Anderson stood behind the bench that held the ceremonial First Shot rifle, he slowly buttoned and latched his shooting jacket and placed his ear muffs on his head. Photographers gathered to his left and right, anticipating the incredible photo opportunity of the honored guest firing his celebrated rifle. He lifted the sights to his eye, aligned the shot with the ceremonial target downrange and pulled the trigger. A pyrotechnical explosion burst the target into pieces as the crowd cheered.

Though the CMP traditionally offers the ceremonial First Shot rifle to the First Shot Speaker, this year, it was the Speaker who offered the rifle to the CMP. The donated rifle will be on permanent display within the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center.


A fleet of vintage vehicles rolled towards the crowd, driven by World War II reenactors. A M4 Sherman tank led the pack, followed by Toledo-made Willy’s Jeeps.

The CMP presented Anderson a granite paver with his name and the First Shot date engraved upon it. The paver will be placed in his honor at the new CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama – currently under construction.

After Anderson returned to his seat, the 122nd Army Band raised their instruments and began to play the Armed Forces Salute. One by one, veterans and current military service men and women stood as their branch’s salute was played. Once the final note played, a resounding boom echoed throughout the ranges as the Sherman tank fired two volleys towards Lake Erie.

And so, with pomp, circumstance, honorable guests and many pyrotechnical explosions, the 2014 National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches officially opened. Good luck to all participants, and enjoy the communal and competitive excitement the season brings!



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PROGRAMS:  For marksmanship training, competitions, National Matches, safety information and youth marksmanship.


Camp Perry Program Center
Phone: (419) 635-2141      Fax: (419) 635-2802

Mail & Shipping:
Civilian Marksmanship Program
P.O. Box 576 (mail)
Camp Perry Training Site, Bldg #3 (shipping)
Port Clinton, Ohio 43452
SALES:  For government surplus rifles and ammunition, CMP products and CMP memorabilia. 


Anniston Distribution Center
Phone: (256) 835-8455     Fax:  (256) 835-3527

Mail & Shipping:
Civilian Marksmanship Program
1401 Commerce Blvd
Anniston, Alabama 36207
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