167th’s marksmen train, compete at National Matches

By By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle | Aug. 5, 2019

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —

Five 167th Airlift Wing Airmen participated in the National Matches at Camp Perry near Port Clinton, Ohio last month.

The month-long national shooting festival hosts more than 6,000 military and civilian participants who train and compete in a variety of competition including traditional pistol, smallbore, high-power rifle and long-range rifle.

Lt. Col. Jason Harris, Master Sgt. James Barton, and Staff Sgt. Derek Meacham attended the Army Marksmanship Unit Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) while there, and competed in the SAFS M9 pistol Excellence-In-Competition event.

Senior Master Sgt. Michael Darby, the Base Marksmanship Team Captain, organized the event for 167th members.

“The SAFS and EIC offer new competitive shooters a great opportunity. They get training from some of the best marksmen in the military and then get a chance to earn points toward their distinguished marksmanship badge,” Darby said.

Master Sgt. James Barton placed sixth out of nearly 200 shooters from across the country in the EIC. 

By finishing in the top 10 percent, he earned points toward being a distinguished pistol shooter, Darby noted.

A shooter must earn 30 points over their lifetime in a particular discipline to achieve distinguished shooter status.

Master Sgt. Garey Diefenderfer, along with Barton and Darby, competed in various other national-level events at Camp Perry.

Diefenderfer, who also shoots for the prestigious All Guard Team, earned 10 distinguished points in both rimfire pistol and revolver competitions.

The 167th marksmanship team is open to all military members and has open practices twice a year for new shooters that would like to try competitive marksmanship.

“Marksmanship is a military skillset that applies to every AFSC. We will work with anyone that wants or needs to hone those skills, even if they are not interested in shooting with the team,” Darby said.