By Capt. Janice Rintz
Thirty-three, two-person teams of military snipers from around the world competed in the 53rd Winston P. Wilson (WPW) Sniper Championship (National Guard) and the 33rd Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting (Inter-Service) December 1-8 at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center. These championships allow service members to test sniper skills and weapon systems in a battle-focused environment.
This year’s sniper championships included international competitors from Colombia, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
The guest of honor at the awards ceremony, marking the triumphant conclusion of the highly competitive event, was Maj. Gen. Jonathan Stubbs, Arkansas’ adjutant general. His presence added honor to the celebration, recognizing outstanding achievements in marksmanship.
“Marksmanship is not just about hitting a target. It’s about discipline, focus, and precision. These are the same qualities that make our National Guard Soldiers the best in the world,” said Maj. Gen. Stubbs.
“The Winston P. Wilson Championship and the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center are integral to the success of our Soldiers in maintaining their marksmanship proficiency,” Stubbs said. “Through these institutions, our Soldiers are equipped with the necessary skills to protect our communities and defend our nation. A strong marksmanship program is essential for the safety and security of our country, and the National Guard is proud to lead the way.”
The WPW sniper competition began in 1971 and has been held annually to determine the best shooters in the United States National Guard. This year’s 53rd WPW Sniper Champion is Utah National Guard. Shooters are awarded the prestigious Chiefs 50 Marksmanship Badge on behalf of the Chief, National Guard Bureau. The Chief’s 50 Marksmanship Badge was established to provide evidence and public recognition of outstanding marksmanship abilities demonstrated at the National Guard Championships.
In addition to earning the Chief’s 50 Badge and the Overall Championship Team Trophy, the Utah National Guard received the Chief David R. Logan Sniper Team Trophy. The 2nd place winner is the Iowa Sniper Team. Iowa shooters are also recipients of the Chief’s 50 Badge.
The Armed Forces Skills at Arms Meeting (AFSAM), established in 1991, is a multi-national competition created to promote marksmanship training and competition between United States military forces and allied nations. This year’s 33rd AFSAM Sniper Championship winner is the 2nd Special Warfare Training Group. The AFSAM championship ran concurrently with the WPW championship and incorporated the same fire courses.
This competition is designed as a training tool for US and Allied armed forces, immersing them into situations they could encounter in the real world. Attendees learn to maneuver and shoot in a carefully orchestrated chaos that mimics a battle-like environment. This allows participating teams to hone their current skills and develop new ones.
2023 National Guard Sniper Competition Results
WPW Sniper Team Champions:
- Utah National Guard, 1st Place
- Iowa National Guard, 2nd Place
- Missouri National Guard, 3rd Place
WPW Specialist Christopher Horton Precision Engagement Memorial Trophy:
- Utah National Guard
WPW Silent Hunter Team Champions:
- Washington National Guard
WPW Carbine & Pistol Champions:
- Iowa National Guard
AFSAM Sniper Team Champions:
- 2nd Special Warfare Training Group, 1st Place
- Netherlands (Alpha), 2nd Place
- Naval Special Warfare, 3rd Place
AFSAM Precision Engagement Team Champions:
- All Guard Sniper Team
AFSAM Silent Hunter Team Champions:
- Operations Wolf Group
Carbine & Pistol Champions:
- 1st BN 75th Ranger Regiment