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NEWS | May 29, 2023

VNG hosts combined arms marksmanship match

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

The Virginia National Guard’s Marksmanship Training Unit tested the skills of nearly 90 shooters during the Adjutant General’s Marksmanship Match, a three-day combined arms match held May 19-21, 2023, at Fort Barfoot, Virginia. The Virginia National Guard’s annual marksmanship match brought together Soldiers and Airmen from across the state to test their skills on both rifle and pistol. The shooters were challenged with matches that required them to engage targets with both rifle and pistol from a variety of firing positions and distances. 

“The TAG Marksmanship Match teaches lethality and the ability to shoot well under simulated combat conditions,” explained Staff Sgt. Alexandra Griffeth, one of the Virginia National Guard’s top shooters and a long-time competitor at the state match. “The events at the TAG Match test the shooter’s ability to move quickly and efficiently while still getting accurate hits on multiple targets. Regardless of your [career field], the ability to fight is at the core of being a Soldier, and the TAG Match is the best way to learn and improve on those skills.” 

The shooting encountered by competitors at the state match is vastly different than what they typically encounter during an annual individual weapons qualification. Not only do shooters fire from multiple weapons systems, but, depending on the match, shooters face the challenge of engaging targets under tight limits, from positions including and beyond the prone, kneeling and standing positions, and engage targets from near and far distances. 

“It’s a different type of shooting that most service members don’t see at heir unit, so it’s a perfect opportunity to test your ability shoot well under somewhat stressful conditions,” Griffeth said. 

Improving skills is at the heart of what the TAG Match aims to achieve, regardless of individual skill level. Even novice shooters and welcome to attend, compete and improve their marksmanship skills along the way. 

“Being around the other competitors, I always learn something new,” explained Staff Sgt. Colin Ryan, one of this year’s top shooters. “Anybody that is thinking about competing at the match should go for it. Everyone that I have met there is happy to teach new shooters and to help them learn new skills.” 

“As someone who has spent a number of years affiliated with the Tag Match and the Marksmanship Training Unit, it was wonderful to see so many teams compete this year,” Griffeth said. “All the Soldiers I talked to after the match this year told me they learned a lot, they were excited to do it again next year, and they said that competing in events like the TAG Match would make them more likely to reenlist.” 

Standings for the 2023 Adjutant General’s Combined Arms Marksmanship Match:

Individual Aggregate – Pistol:
1. Staff Sgt. Colin Ryan, with a score of 188
2. Staff Sgt. Alexandra Griffeth, with a score of 186
3. Spc. Michael McClaskie, with a score of 183

Individual Aggregate – Rifle:
1. Sgt. Daniel Shumate, with a score of 180
2. Staff Sgt. Colin Ryan, with a score of 175
3. Staff Sgt. Donald Arbaugh, with a score of 174

Combined Arms Individual Aggregate- Rifle and Pistol:
1. Staff Sgt. Alexandra Griffeth, with a score of 706
2. Staff Sgt. Colin Ryan, with a score of 701
3. Staff Sgt. Donald Arbaugh, with a score of 697

Team Aggregate:
1. Staff Sgt. Chandler Potts, Sgt. Daniel Shumate, Staff Sgt. Ryan Calo, Staff Sgt. Carl Childres, with a score of 2,331
2. Staff Sgt. Ruben Troyer, 2nd Lt. Jonathan Elkins, 2nd Lt. Evan Grizzard, Sgt. Ethan Allen, with a score of 2,219
3. Staff Sgt. Donald Arbaugh, Spc. David Eye, Cpl. Casey Stewart, Staff Sgt. Mikeal Lewis, with a score of 2,205

Combined Arms Novice Aggregate: Sgt. Luke Miller, with a score of 606

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