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Printable Version

World's largest military marksmanship competition postponed in wake of Katrina

Press Release from NGMTU

CAMP JOSEPH T. ROBINSON, Ark. - Due to the nationwide mobilization of military troops and equipment in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, a decision was made this week to postpone indefinitely the 2005 Winston P. Wilson National Championships. The Wilson Matches are a multi-service marksmanship competition conducted each year at Camp Robinson by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit. This would have been the 35th Wilson Matches. The competition traditionally draws close to 1,000 competitors from around the U.S. and its territories who compete in a week-long test of combat-based rifle, pistol, sniper and light machine gun events.

“Our focus right now is fixed on helping our neighbors overcome the tragedy of Katrina," said Maj. Gen. Don C. Morrow, the Adjutant General of Arkansas. "The Wilson Matches are an honored tradition for the National Guard. The decision to postpone was difficult, but determining our priorities was not.”

The Camp Robinson-based National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit, which hosts the yearly competition, identified several logistical complications resulting from the mass utilization of military assets in the Gulf Coast region. The majority of the resources originally scheduled to support the Winston P. Wilson matches, including personnel, airlift and ground transportation, are now committed to the relief effort or are being held in reserve in the event they are needed for other potential real-world missions.

“While the National Guard's dedication to the relief effort by providing more than 47,000 Guardsmen, including 1250 from Arkansas, has impacted our ability to conduct the Wilson matches, it does not hinder our overall readiness,” confirmed the General.

Plans for the potential rescheduling of the Wilson Championships will be announced at a later date as the relief efforts unfold. The 15th annual Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting (AFSAM), an international event which normally runs concurrent with the Wilson Championships, will continue as scheduled in October. Attracting hundreds of competitors from around the world, the decision to conduct the AFSAM was based on the ability to host the event with minimal expense and staffing. With transportation for the international event at the participating teams' expense, the purchase of nonrefundable tickets by international competitors was a determining factor in deciding to conduct this event.

For more information contact: Capt. Kristine Munn at (501) 212-5020 or by email at: Or contact 1st Lt. Chris Heathscott at (501) 212-4515, or by email at: Please visit the Arkansas National Guard on the web at

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