CHARLESTON, Ark. — Marksmen from around the globe are taking part in the Winston P. Wilson (WPW) and Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting (AFSAM) Sniper Championships held at the Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center.
The four-day competition was put on by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center (NGMTC) with sniper instructors from the 233rd Regional Training Insitute.
The championships feature 35 two-man teams from 24 states and territories, as well as teams from Italy, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Teams competed in 24 events - designed to test the contestant's skill, concentration, and marksmanship with a variety of weapons.
Plus it is an opportunity to learn and share with others.
"We take notes all the time," says Army Staff Sergeant BJ Underkofler. "People may not see us doing it, but we're taking notes, we're listening, we're adding stuff or asking questions so that when we can go back and give the best knowledge to our guys."
Staff Sgt. Underkofler first heard of the competition while stationed at Fort Knox. This week's competition marks his third trip to the event, and he plans to continue to come back.
"If we don't continually get together to share, train, upgrade, or update our information and techniques, then we're going to lose it," said Staff Sgt. Underkofler. "Then, we're going to go right back to square one."
The event highlights the importance of continually training and sharing information to keep people safe. However, it also builds comradery between competitors and colleagues - no matter the flag on their shoulders.
Master Sergeant Michael Aebeloe is from Denmark. His team made the journey to Fort Chaffee in an effort to learn through the spirit of competition.
"We actually had high expectations for coming, but we're being realistic about it because our guys, they've got 14-18 months actually as active snipers," said Master Sgt. Aebeloe.
At the end of the event, awards will be given to the best guardsmen and the best overall teams.
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