Gunfire at Benning for the 2012 Army Small Arms Championships - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Gunfire erupts at Fort Benning for the 2012 U.S. Army Small Arms Championships

The week long U.S. Army Small Arms Championship was in full swing at Fort Benning. Rifle matches began early Sunday. The week long U.S. Army Small Arms Championship was in full swing at Fort Benning. Rifle matches began early Sunday.
FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

Hundreds of soldiers lined up, rifles in hand, ready to take a shot at the prize. The week long U.S. Army Small Arms Championship was in full swing at Fort Benning.

Rifle matches began early Sunday  at 7:30 am. Organizer Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Hodne says this year is special.

"This year is special because this is the largest U.S. Army Small Arms Championships to have taken place in 19 years," said Hodne.

At McAndrews Range over 300 soldiers from all over the world, take aim at targets that give them real-time feedback on their accuracy. Troops do not simply get their guns and leisurely fire at targets. The event starts with a 2 mile run to add in a little stress; it's done to mimic what it's like to be in combat.

"I say what makes it more close to combat than just adding the physical fitness aspect of it, is that it puts stress on you. You're trying to out shoot the person left and right of you," University of Arkansas professor Major Charles Pudil said.

After the run, they take a second to catch their breath. Then, start on the first mark 500 meters away. They continue to run closer and closer as time ticks away. The line ends up just 25 meters from their target with 3 seconds left.

First timer W-1 Yvonne Subiono says she nervous but excited to learn some new techniques. "I'd like to be able to take it back and learn long distance and then rapid fire under pressure and you know having to do physical things while you're shooting, not just shooting. But, having to run then shoot...get up and get down."

The competition is also considered a great opportunity for soldiers to improve their marksmanship, and take what they learned back to their units.

"Marksmanship training is perhaps one of the most cost effective ways to raise army combat readiness," said Hodne.

Although the soldiers are training, it's still a competition.

"For a soldier to win the U.S Army Small Arms Championships, one it's a prestigious honor, but it is a lifetime achievement," said Hodne.

Organizers say soldiers fire more rounds at this event than they do all year.

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