Guard marksmanship team finishes second in South Africaby jmaloni
Ten members of the New York Army and Air National Guard who represented the United States at a marksmanship competition in South Africa this month took two second-place awards during the competition held March 4-15.
The American team, comprised of five members of the New York Army National Guard from the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, based in Niagara Falls, and five Air National Guard members from bases across the state, took second place in the International Team Active Duty military category and also took second place in the International Best of Match overall.
Thirty-five teams, including those from the United States and four other nations, and a total of 350 soldiers, participated in the shooting competition.
The New York National Guard Team also outshot a U.S. Army team, composed of sniper-trained soldiers, from Fort Riley, Kansas.
Individual members of the New York team were also recognized at the event.
Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Edward Stefik, a Lewiston resident and member of the 107th Airlift Wing, took second place in the warrant officer and non-commissioner officer category.
Army National Guard 1st Lt. Thomas Beach, a Buffalo resident, finished in sixth place overall out of 350 shooters.
The Americans fired the South African R-4 rifle during the competition instead of the American M-16A2 and M-4 rifles they normally train on.
Teams from other African and North Atlantic Treaty Organization militaries are invited to compete in the event along with active duty and reserve component forces of the South African National Defense Force.
The New York National Guard has a training and exchange partnership with the South African National Defense Force through the National Guard's State Partnership Program. The program pairs state National Guard's with militaries in Eastern Europe and the developing world. New York and South Africa have been partnered since 2003.