By Steve Cooper, CMP Training & Education Manager
STARKE, FL – Thanks to some great training assistance from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) and dozens of eager-to-learn participants at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) stand-alone Small Arms Firing School (SAFS), four students-turned-competitors walked away with introductory Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) points on Sunday, November 4. The class included 11 juniors and 38 of all ages who participated in a CMP event for the first time.
The top 10 percent of the 41 who completed the class and match earned introductory points toward receiving a Distinguished Rifleman badge, one of the most sought-after awards highpower rifle shooters can aspire to achieve. Thirty EIC points, grouped in clusters of “legs” are required to earn the badge, which sometimes takes months, years or decades to attain or for many, never. The CMP SAFS course is the only source for earning a four-point intro leg.
Newly-minted EIC points winners were Robert Working, 46, of Jacksonville, FL, firing a 377-11X out of a possible 400. The match consists of four 100-point stages – slow-fire prone, rapid-fire prone, rapid-fire sitting and slow-fire standing. Working won the match via an X-ring tie-breaker over Andre Fredy, 46, of Jacksonville, FL, who finished with 377-7X.
In a tight race for third place, LTJG Jamel Chokr, 31, U.S. Coast Guard, shot a matching score of 357-6X with Gary Sauer, 71, of Ponte Vedra, FL. The tie was broken using the last stage score (standing, in this match) to determine the winner. LTJG Chokr’s score of 80 topped Sauer’s 76 in offhand to take third in the match.
ENS Timothy Thomas, 28, U.S. Coast Guard, finished fifth with a 353-6X. As the first non-points winner, or “first leather,” Thomas received a gift certificate for a free leather competition rifle sling from Eric Hollis Slings, of Palm Coast, FL.
The SAFS rifle match completed the two-day curriculum of in-classroom and firing line training conducted by three CMP instructors, four USAMU highpower rifle instructors, and four Camp Blanding Museum Rifle Team instructors. Each competitor had the benefit of one-on-one instruction on the firing line on Day 1 when students worked on building shooting positions. Each fired at total of 15 rounds of ammunition in any position of their choice in preparation for the Day 2 match.
It was the second stand-alone SAFS class conducted by the CMP in 2018 – the first being at Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club in Ypsilanti, Michigan in August. The remote SAFS courses are part of CMP’s outreach program which takes marksmanship training opportunities to participants who may find it difficult to attend the large SAFS course at Camp Perry during the National Matches or at one of CMP’s Travel Games matches in Oklahoma, N. Carolina, Alabama, Vermont and Arizona.
Four more SAFS road courses in 2019 are being tentatively planned for Portland, OR, Keyser, WVA, Denver, CO and Manassas, VA.
The Camp Blanding Museum Rifle Club supported the event held at classroom facilities on campus and at the historic Charlie KD (known-distance) rifle range, used by WWII trainees destined for battlefields around the globe. Terry Pitts, CMP’s Florida State Junior Director, helped coordinate the event. Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park curator, Greg Parsons, was instrumental in providing support for the event which drew student competitors from Florida and beyond.
Camp Blanding is a Florida National Guard joint training center, established in 1939, and was instrumental as one of the nation’s largest military training sites in the 1940s and remains a valuable training asset today. The Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park are open to the public and depict the people, equipment and training of U.S. Army and Florida National Guard personnel over the past eight decades.
To view complete results of the Camp Blanding Small Arms Firing School, log onto CMP’s Competition Tracker at: https://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=match&task=edit&tab=results&match=17428.
To view photos of the event, log onto CMP’s Communications event photo page at: