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For the fifth year in a row, a team from the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing has won the annual "TAG (The Adjutant General) Match," held May 31 to June 1 at Camp Smith Training Site, Cortland Manor.
The winning team, shown from left, consists of Senior Master Sgt. Edward Stefik from Lewiston, Sgt. Ryan Mang from Niagara Falls, Staff Sgt. Johnathen Wagner from Buffalo and Tech Sgt. Warren Jones from Rochester.
The four were among 125 New York Army and Air National Guard members who competed in the annual shooting event that tests service members' ability to fire the M-9 pistol, the M-4 carbine, and the M-249 squad automatic weapon.
The modern TAG Match requires participants to employ the weapons used on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The match consists of eight timed events that include the use of those weapons during close-quarters combat, casualty, and nuclear biological chemical drills.
Stefik, who has headed the 107th Airlift Wing team for the past five years, stressed the match is mostly about training - and winning in combat.
"We're in a real-world situation; we've been at war for over 10 years," he said. "This isn't just a competition; it's a training experience."