Fort Benning's Olympians are back home - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fort Benning's Olympians are back home

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

Soldiers training on Fort Benning are not unusual, but having an instructor that is a 2012 Olympian is something different.

Staff Sergeant Michael McPhail was one of seven members of the U.S. Army Marksmenship Unit that competed in London.

"[It was ] nothing short of amazing. It, I mean, it started right away when we drew our uniforms, and it was just really surreal," said McPhail.

On Thursday, he was back to training other soldiers on the post's shooting range.

"You're shooting with the best, you know, you have to shoot with better to get better," said Corporal Brad Warren, a Fort Bragg solider training under McPhail.

McPhail was not the only Olympian back on Fort Benning. Sergeant 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft and Sergeant 1st Class Jason Parker are the lead instructors at a shooting camp for teenagers this week.

"It's nice to be able to pass on the knowledge. To be able to assist the kids because I can't even name the hundreds of thousands of people that helped me over my career that got me to where I am at, and its one way of giving back to the sport," said Uptagrafft.

Parker says it a great chance to take things they have learned from the Olympics and help others.

"You've got a lot of fresh ideas on your mind, how to improve my shooting, and then as well, as you go down through here and you pass all those ideas on to younger shooters in our sport," said Parker.

The 15 teen shooters are some of the best from across the country getting to learn from some of the best in the world.

"You know, you hear about them, and you read about them, and you see them on TV, but being with them is really something else," said 16-year-old Michael Garner from Texas.

"To know that they are Olympians, and they are helping me, it is a once in a life time thing, and it is fantastic," said 16-year-old Minden Miles from Texas.

The big question is: will they be heading to the Summer Olympics again in four years?

"It is kind of up in the air. I need to take some time step back and make a decision on what is going to happen," said Parker.

"I'll start getting back on the gun as soon as I am able to. So yeah, it starts now," said Uptagrafft, planning for the 2016 Olympics.

"As far as competitive shooting goes, I have some unfinished business to do in the Olympics," said McPhail.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved. 

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