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2016 TAG Match more than a competition

By Sgt. Heidi Kroll | 172nd Public Affairs Detachment | June 1, 2016

CAMP ETHAN ALLEN TRAINING SITE, Vt. — Pop-up targets teach guardsmen to, keep their head on a swivel, notice and react to fast changes in their environment. It is important to be able to react quickly, being able to locate a target, find a location on a map, getting an aircraft into the air.

“It is a really great morale builder, helps me on an individual basis to compete against the clock,” said Spc. Henry Stone, mechanic, 572nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, Vermont National Guard. There are timed events for each weapon system.

“This competition gets the younger guardsmen into marksmanship. Shooting fundamentals and marksmanship is what this is all about,” said Master Sgt. Clem Devlin, marksmanship coordinator, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont National Guard.

The members for the team events for this competition have to come from the same unit or squadron. Having a unit train for this competition working on marksmanship together increases the moral of the unit.

“I think it’s a great thing, the Airmen look forward to each year. The friendly competition keeps everyone upping their game,” said Chief Master Sgt. Peter Noble, mission support group superintendent, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont National Guard.

When the results from all four shooting events are totaled, the top 20 best shooters will receive a “Governor’s Twenty” tab that they will be able to wear on their uniform. The Governors Twenty Tab is a state-level National Guard award created in 1968.

There are 19 different opportunities for guardsmen to receive trophies for their shooting. Guardsmen that do well in this competition can be selected for further competitions to represent the State of Vermont at national levels.

At the end of this two-day competition, guardsmen will know where they stand against their peers. They will have spent more time operating their weapon system than normal on qualification day. Guardsmen increase their proficiency by reinforcing the basic marksmanship skills.