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Printable Version

Marine Corps JROTC Rifle Team Given a Taste of the National Matches

By Sommer Wood, CMP Writer/Editor

MSgt Gerald Lyons and the Shelby County HS MCJROTC were rewarded for winning the JROTC National Championship with a trip to the National Matches at Camp Perry.

MSgt Gerald Lyons knows a thing or two about coaching champions. He has led his Shelby County High School Marine Corps JROTC Rifle Team from Shelbyville, Kentucky to victory in the JROTC National Championship three out of the last four years. That is why it was a special reward when Dr. Bill McHenry, Director of the Marine Corps JROTC Program, invited the Shelby County MCJROTC unit to send a four-member team and an instructor to attend the 2006 National Matches at Camp Perry as a reward for winning this year’s JROTC National Championship.

The team traveled to Camp Perry and began the week by attending the Marine Corps Junior Highpower Clinic. Highpower shooting was a whole new experience for these cadets who were shooting outside for the first time. Reading wind, dealing with recoil, learning to shoot sitting, a position they had never fired before, and mastering highpower courses of fire with range and zero changes were all taken in by the cadets as they tried to prepare for their first highpower competition.

One of the events Shelby County competed in was the Whistler Boy Highpower Match, a two person team event for juniors.

The U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Team took the Shelby County cadets under their wing and provided support for them all week. The cadets had all the experiences that new shooters face on their first trip to Camp Perry. “We made every mistake in the book. We crossfired, saved rounds, you name it and we did it. We came in with no idea what to expect,” said MSgt Lyons.

Shelby County HS MCJROTC volunteered to collect brass for the Marine Corps Rifle Team during the National Team Infantry Team Match.

Even with mistakes, the team had a great time and learned a lot. They enjoyed the National Team Trophy Match the most, despite having to fire out-of-competition because they only had four shooters for a six-person team match. On that same day these JROTC Champions witnessed their mentors, the U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Team, win the National Team Trophy Match while firing a new National Matches Record. Then the following morning the cadets volunteered to pick up brass for the Marine Corps Team as they competed in the National Trophy Infantry Team Match, also known as the “Rattle Battle”.

MCJROTC cadet Kent Wilcox was presented Junior Distinguished Badge #122 at the National Matches closing ceremony by MG Greg Wayt. Wilcox earned the Badge for his accomplishments in three-position air rifle competition.

The week ended with a special honor for one of the cadets. Kent Wilcox of Simpsonville, KY was awarded the Junior Distinguished Badge at the awards ceremony held on Saturday at the conclusion of the CMP Matches. Wilcox received Junior Distinguished Badge #122 for his accomplishments in three-position air rifle competitions. His badge was presented by Major General Greg Wayt, the Adjutant General of Ohio.

For the cadets from Shelby County HS MCJROTC and Coach MSgt Lyons it was a memorable week that will certainly be in their minds as they vie for another JROTC National Air Rifle Championship next year. Considering that Shelby County’s entire championship team will return for the upcoming JROTC competition season, and adding to that the lessons they learned while working under the tutelage of the Marine Corps Rifle Team and the competitive experiences they gained from the National Matches, there is certainly a chance another reward trip will be in store for the team next year.

For results from the 2006 National Matches visit

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