Gary Anderson, Director of Civilian Marksmanship Emeritus
Gary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009.
In addition to promoting firearms safety training and rifle practice for all shooters, Gary’s primary focus at CMP has been to develop and sustain successful youth shooting programs at both regional and national levels.
On December 31, 2009, Gary announced his retirement from the DCM position. Anderson’s retirement means he will no longer be actively involved in day-to-day CMP program operations and event management. He will, however, continue his association with the CMP in a part-time consulting capacity where he will work on several projects that include training curriculum development, master instructor training, rulebook editing and technical writing. He now has the title DCM Emeritus.
Gary grew up on a farm in rural Axtell, Nebraska. From a very young age, hunting and shooting fascinated Gary. Without benefit of a coach or proper equipment (including ammunition), Gary taught himself how to shoot by dry-firing his rifle for hours at a time. Dreams of becoming an Olympic gold medalist in shooting led Gary to the US Army. In 1959, after convincing skeptical US Army coaches that his implausibly high shooting scores were accurate, he was assigned to the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia. His first international competition was the Pan American Games in 1959 — only two years later, in 1961, he would win his first national championship. At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Cairo, Egypt, he stunned the shooting world, then completely dominated by Russian shooters, by winning four individual titles and setting three new world records. At the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Gary confirmed his performance in Cairo was not a fluke, setting a new world record and winning the 300 meter free-rifle gold medal. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Wiesbaden, Germany, he won three additional world titles. Gary continued to demonstrate his dedication to shooting by besting his own world record and winning a second gold medal in the 300 meter free-rifle event at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Gary retired from active international competition after the 1969 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, where his 50-meter, three-position score of 1182 was the highest score ever fired in international competition. In ten years, his two Olympic gold medals, seven World Championship gold medals, six world records, and 12 national titles were and continue to be the most major international shooting titles ever won by an American. Following retirement from active competition, Gary continued to devote his time and energy to shooting sports by coaching young shooters, teaching shooting clinics, speaking at numerous shooting sports functions, and authoring hundreds of magazine articles and three books about shooting. Even during his “retirement” from shooting competition, Gary competed in the NRA National Highpower Championships at Camp Perry Ohio, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976.
Gary is a graduate of Hastings College in Nebraska, and the San Francisco Theological Seminary in California. A former Nebraska state senator, Gary worked at the NRA where he served as Executive Director of General Operations. Gary was responsible for the development of safety, training and competition programs. Among hundreds of other honors, Gary was awarded the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) Distinguished International Shooting Badge (Serial number one) in April 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. While at the NRA, Gary served on the NBPRP board, and was one of the first people to advocate and pioneer a shift in priorities to youth and junior shooting. As a result of this shift, Gary became the founding and administrative director of the U. S. Shooting Team Foundation and, in 1993, he moved to Atlanta to become the Shooting Competitions Manager for the 1996 Olympic Games. In 1996, Anderson accepted a position with Fulton County Georgia, to manage the Wolf Creek Shooting Venue, a facility destined to become a premier national and international center for the shooting sports.
Gary’s influence on shooting sports extends well beyond the United States. Gary has traveled extensively throughout his career in shooting, serving as a genuine ambassador for shooting sports, attending eleven Summer Olympic Games, three as a competitor and eight as technical delegate or a jury member. He is the first American ever elected to the position of Vice President of the International Shooting Union. In 2018, he stepped down as a Vice President of the International Shooting Sports Federation after 40 years of service in the world governing body of Olympic shooting. Gary is also the recipient of one of only five prestigious honorary memberships to the historic and renowned shooting club, Hauptschutzengesellschaft, in Munich, Germany.
An avid outdoorsman and conservationist, Gary enjoys gardening, bird watching, studying and analyzing bald eagle behavior, running, cycling, cross-country skiing, photography, and fine wines. Gary and his wife, Ruth Ann, live in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Director of Civilian Marksmanship Emeritus
Civilian Marksmanship Program
PO Box 576
Port Clinton, OH 43452