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News | Sept. 14, 2022

Vermont Guard holds annual TAG Match

By Sgt. 1st Class Jason Alvarez Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

Every year the Vermont Adjutant General hosts the Combat Marksmanship Competition for Soldiers and Airmen at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, Vermont. This year's competition was held Sept. 10-11.

Commonly called the TAG Match, it is open to all members of the Army and Air National Guard with the intention of promoting marksmanship proficiency. The participants are able to compete for pistol and rifle badges that can be worn on their uniforms. The most coveted of these is the Governor’s Twenty tab, which is worn on the left sleeve above their unit patch.

The match consists of Combat Rifle, Combat Pistol, and Machine Gun shooting events. Each discipline is further broken down into individual and team competitions.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Cara Kraus is the State Marksmanship Coordinator for Vermont, and she explained what the competition is all about.

“On the pistol side, individual events are held on Saturday, and team events on Sunday. The events they’ll shoot are very different from a typical Army qualification," Kraus said. "One pistol match uses barricades, which you typically don’t see. It exposes the shooters to a little bit of running, and different things to test them out. On the rifle side they really get some running in. They have a falling plate match where they have to run 100 yards to elevate their heart rate, before they fire on targets. The targets they’re trying to hit are 12 inches across, at 200 yards. There’s precision involved. On the machine gun side they’ll do some transition fire, which includes distances out to 700 yards, and there are moving targets.

"There are a lot of people that make this event happen," Kraus continued. "Different units are responsible for running different ranges, food service, ammunition draw, latrines need to be placed, and the weapons need to be transported. It’s a huge operation. There’s support staff from the Vermont Air National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, the J-6 compiles the statistics, there are a lot of moving parts.

Kraus adds that “Everyone pulls together to make this successful. We’re really happy that everyone is thrilled to be here. It gives everyone a chance to see what’s gong on and to be part of the team. There's a lot of camaraderie, and there's a lot of learning. When you're doing things with people that are outside of your command or branch, you get to see what their doing that makes them successful.”

Firearms proficiency is an essential skill for all military members. The Army’s vision for Soldiers is to expertly wield modern weaponry at the command, squad, and individual Soldier levels.

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