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CMP, Military Teams Conduct Variety of Educational Courses at the 2021 National Matches
CAMP PERRY, Ohio – The National Matches at Camp Perry has been a staple in the marksmanship world for over 100 years. The event attracts thousands of guests each year to the historic ranges of the Ohio National Guard Training Facility, with such prestigious competitions as the President’s Match, National Trophy Individual and many others that competitors have come to expect over the years.
What some may not realize is that there are also plenty of opportunities for learning while attending the National Matches – on and off the firing lines. The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), which conducts the Matches each year, offers an entire lineup of educational courses for those new to the sport and those eager to develop their skills. The types of rifle and pistol courses span from junior to adult, competitive to maintenance and everything in between.
“We held a number of classes for both pistol and rifle to accommodate folks’ schedules this year, and they were great,” said Steve Cooper, CMP training & education manager.
Along with classes offered solely by the CMP, other courses are partnered with military entities that recruit some of the best shots in the country to lead instruction on the range.
“The Marine Corps junior clinic, guided by Maj. Martinez (USMC Shooting Team Officer In Charge), is always a big hit with our up-and-coming young rifle shooters,” Cooper explained. “It was great to see so many enthusiastic young people, who revere the Marine Corps Shooting Team, come out and take advantage of the instruction at this year’s clinic.”
Likewise, the Small Arms Firing School is directed by many decorated marksmen from a number of military teams. This year, the rifle classroom portion was led by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Green, who holds multiple national records including a perfect score in the National Matches President’s Rifle event. Out on the line, talented athletes like the All Guard’s Staff Sgt. Amanda Elsenboss, who recently earned her own national records at the 2021 National Rifle Matches, and Maj. Samuel Freeman, the 2021 winner of the President’s Rifle Match – among other decorated service men and women – brought their own knowledge and experience into one-on-one training with participants.
“Having those world-class shooters serve as instructors is an honor and one the students should remember, always,” Cooper added.
CMP RO Level II Training Course:
The Range Officer (RO) Training Course program, offered at three levels of instruction, was developed by the CMP to provide education for those interested in serving as qualified Range Officers in CMP sponsored and sanctioned competitions. Currently, certification is available in four different shooting disciplines. The Level II Course was presented on the schedule at the 2021 National Matches and guided packed classrooms of individuals who will now be able to take their valuable knowledge back to their home ranges.
“I was so pleased this year to see so many folks come out and take our Level II Range Officer Class,” said Cooper. “Many of the attendees already have taken the class, but they come back, not only to pick up more info, but to share what they know with the rest of the group.”
“Our veteran RO’s and tower talkers came to multiple classes,” he went on. “They add so much to the coursework because they share ‘real world’ experiences, and you just can’t beat that kind of instruction. I’m proud to be associate with this group of range professionals.”
Team CMP Advanced Highpower Clinic:
Led by members of Team CMP (the organization’s own competitive highpower squad) the Advanced Highpower Clinic offers more complex instruction in service rifle competition techniques using classroom and range discussion. Though the class traditionally only utilizes dry-fire training on the range, in 2021, a 600-yard live-fire portion was added.
With 65 individuals signed up, the course was broken into groups headed by Sara Rozanski, James Fox, Nick Till, Danny Arnold, Robert Taylor and Bob Gill – all experienced and award-winning marksmen. Each focused on a specific area, such as wind reading, mental management and positioning.
“Team CMP put on another excellent Advanced Rifle Clinic again this year,” said Cooper. “Sara Rozanski, the clinic leader, and members of the team shared a great deal of information in the hopes that students come back as stronger across-the-course shooters next year.”
U.S. Marine Corps Junior Highpower Clinic:
The three-day clinic gives focus to more advanced training outside of fundamentals, including weather conditions, how to read wind, equipment use, shooting positions and rulebook standards. Juniors in the clinic spend one day in the classroom, followed by two days of live-fire on the range at 200, 300 and 600 yards.
GySgt Daniel Rhodes, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Marine Corps Rifle Team, helped lead instruction on the firing line in 2021. After a year off from conducting the clinic, Rhodes was pleased with the turnout of around 80 juniors.
“It went fantastic,” he said. “We got a lot of repeat juniors that come out every year. We saw a lot of the same team names that we see every year, a lot of the same faces. They’ve gotten better, but I like to think our coaching and our teaching makes them better as well.”
The Gunny brought his lead instructors along with him to train juniors on the range, including current team members. Many of the instructors even have backgrounds of training recruits at Parris Island or San Diego, making them well-suited to pass their knowledge on to the young junior athletes.
Rhodes explained that around 25 percent of the juniors in the clinic were first-timers, with others more advanced in their abilities. With a variety of experience levels on the line, the instructors do their best to cater to each individual’s needs.
“We talk to them and try to understand them, what they struggle with as individuals and their process,” he said of the USMC’s training technique. “We try to give them tiny, little fixes to what they already have going on.”
Rifle Small Arms Firing School:
Instructors of the Small Arms Firing School include several current members of U.S. military teams, some who have gone on to claim wins in some of the most prestigious National Matches – like SGT Brandon Muske of the Army Marksmanship Unit, who was the winner of the 2021 National Trophy Individual Match, and SPC Luke Rettmer of the Army Marksmanship Unit, who led this year’s Service Rifle 2400 Aggregate event.
Rettmer knows what it’s like to be a young competitor at the National Matches, having several National honors and wins to his name throughout his career. After missing 2020, he was happy to return to Camp Perry in 2021 – this time with new motivations in mind, outside of competition.
“I have a higher responsibility now,” Rettmer said. “My job is to no longer to just compete but to also share my knowledge with others. The Small Arms Firing School was a great opportunity to do that.”
The 2021 Rifle Small Arms Firing School facilitated over 250 individuals on the range.
Learn more about these and other educational opportunities, like the popular M1 Maintenance Clinic offered all year long, on the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/training-tech/clinics/.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.
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