Marines and Army Leaders Make Historic Showing at 2021 Camp Perry Team Event
November 21, 2021Civilian Marksmanship Program▸The First Shot▸Marines and Army Leaders Make Historic Showing at 2021 Camp Perry Team Event
It’s been a few months since the 2021 National Matches took place, yet the individuals who crossed the thresholds of the famous Camp Perry ranges continue to teach us lessons that can be remembered throughout the year and for generations to come.
Back in August, LTC Erik Andreasen, 42, and Maj Richard Martinez, 37, competed together in the famous Hearst Doubles event on Camp Perry’s Viale Range. The men are leaders for their respective service marksmanship teams: Andreasen the Commanding Officer for the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) and Martinez the OIC (Officer in Charge) for the Marine Corps.
“There is a sense of spirited competition between the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps that has been there for many years,” Andreasen explained. “The U.S. AMU and Marine Corps Shooting teams do a lot of training and competing with one another, and most folks do not realize that a rivalry that exists between the teams is one of friendly competition.”
The Hearst Doubles is a two-person team competition that has been fired at the National Matches for over 15 years. Its popularity has allowed it to grow into one of the staple events on the National Matches schedule with a respected reputation – boasting some of the country’s most talented marksmen and women as winners through its existence. According to Andreasen and Martinez, the pairing of two military marksmanship team leaders has never happened in the match’s history, until now.
“There wasn’t a lot of hype to it,” said Maj Martinez. “It was a good day. It was a fun day. I learned a lot about myself through this whole process.”
“We thought that it would be an interesting accomplishment,” Andreasen said. “We also wanted to be good role models for all the junior shooters at Camp Perry. Junior Shooters and new adult shooter integration is a passion of both of ours, and our goal at this specific match was to compete, place high, be a good role model and, finally, enjoy some personal rivalry between the two of us.”
Depending on the source, the rivalry between the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army either dates back to the beginning of the National Matches or the first post-World War II match that was held at Marine Corps Base Camp Matthews in California and can be traced to the beginning of the Inter-Service matches, back in the 1960s.
“In a lot of ways, it’s like two major sports teams that consistently rival each other and push one another to be better,” Andreasen said. “It also gives a lot of shooters a military team to get behind and cheer for.”
Both services, with their competitive natures, strive to be the best with small arms and prove to the world that they have the best marksmen. The constant reach toward greatness is a reflection of the legacy imprinted by the branches throughout history.
“That rivalry isn’t a bad thing or a negative thing – it pushes us,” said Martinez. “It makes us want to be better versions of ourselves for our country and our service.”
“We collaborate a lot with each other during the year,” Andreasen added. “Having worked closely with the Marine Corps Team, I feel their goals are similar.”
The idea of teaming up for the 2021 Hearst Doubles began when Martinez and Andreasen crossed paths at the Eastern CMP Games at Camp Butner, North Carolina, in April. Martinez had driven down from Quantico, Virginia, and Andreasen had driven up from Fort Benning, Georgia, to attend the match. Martinez suggested the two team up for the Hearst Doubles when they attend the National Matches just a few months later.
“I thought it would be a very interesting take on two competing services having their leaders deciding that it would be more beneficial to them to come together as a team and compete to show the benefits of working together – of cooperation,” Martinez explained.
Andreasen had already planned to fire the Hearst with a family member but accepted Martinez’s offer instead. The next several weeks leading up to the National Matches, Martinez trained for the Hearst.
“A lot of preparation, a lot of time and a lot of discipline is needed in order to achieve your goals,” Martinez explained. “I think the goal of us competing as senior leaders, communicating, having a dialogue about where we wanted to take our teams in the directions they needed to go for the benefit of marksmanship instruction – for the benefit of the shooting sports in competition and for the benefit of the American people, that they see that the Army and the Marine Corps work well together – that they complement each other, and that this rivalry is just healthy competition in order to better one’s self.”
Andreasen was able to get on the range about once a week prior to Nationals and was lucky enough to receive one-on-one instruction from members of the U.S. AMU Service Rifle Team. Since range access was limited, he spent a lot of time dry firing at his house and using an air rifle to work on positioning. He also did a fair amount of mental work and physical fitness training in the lead up to the matches.
Soon, August rolled around, and the two met up on Viale in the early morning of the Hearst Doubles to be squadded together, just as they had discussed. The unique pairing quickly caught the attention of others on the range, with some playfully commenting out loud, “Who’s going to win?” and “Who’s going to outshoot the other?”
“It was fun to see the competitor’s reactions when they saw us on the line shooting together,” said Andreasen. “And, as always, interacting with the great competitors and match staff at Camp Perry was great – especially as they offered us words of encouragement and advice.”
Though both competitive, the men decided the scores weren’t the only thing that mattered that day – the way they behaved as leaders on the firing line was the most important thing.
“I can tell you with all certainty that LTC Erik Andreasen was a consummate professional and outstanding performer,” Martinez said. “He carried our team, and even when mistakes were made, he lifted the team back up and he reminded me that it is a team effort in everything that we do. I certainly learned some things from him.”
Martinez went on, “He’s a great long range shooter and can read the wind. The mental strength that that man has is extremely high and that challenges me to increase my mental strength – to work that muscle so I can be just as strong and just as capable.”
With their combined talents, the pair found themselves 13th out of 220 teams overall.
“The match was extremely well run, and there was good competition across all the teams,” Andreasen said. “Maj Martinez shot well, and I enjoyed the camaraderie and opportunity to share with him some of the techniques that we use at U.S. AMU. It goes without saying that he is a good competitor and teammate. I enjoyed his humor while shooting as well as his ability to relate to the shooters on our point and around us on the line.”
“I reinforced how much I love the National Matches,” Andreasen added. “It’s my favorite time of year. It is the best of America.”
“I’m really just filled with admiration and gratitude,” said Martinez. “And pride that we had done this. It’s an honor to shoot next to [Andreasen].”
About LTC Erik Andreasen:
LTC Andreasen’s career in the Army has spanned more than 20 years, beginning competitive rifle competition the 1990s. He was involved in international smallbore and air rifle through his high school’s JROTC program before moving on to the Norwich University NCAA Division I rifle team in college. He picked up highpower and long range competition in 2008, which has taken him across the United States and to Camp Perry through multiple years. He places focus on taking his experiences – a sense of discipline, maturity and responsibility – to pass on to the next generation of marksmen.
“Good sportsmanship is the first quality that I want everyone to see,” said Andreasen. “That, followed by being a fierce competitor.”
He went on, “I want to stretch those around me to do their best and set personal records every time they step up to the line. I want each individual we train to learn to use their firearms in a safe, efficient and effective manner. I want everyone to be proud of the United States Army and look up to us as role models, not just in shooting, but in life. Most of all I want to instill a love of Highpower and Long Range shooting in every person I meet.”
“Life lessons can be learned while on the firing line, while on the range,” he said, speaking of junior participation in the sport. “They’re becoming informed, and I think that that is going to make our country better. The entire purpose of marksmanship was designed for the American people to become better prepared. I still think that that holds true today. Everything we’re doing here, life lessons that are better learned here than anywhere else.”
About Maj Richard Martinez:
Maj Martinez is originally from Houston, Texas, and graduated from the Citadel in 2006 before being commissioned directly into the Marine Corps. He’s been a Marine Officer for 15 years and is currently stationed in Quantico, Virginia – assigned to the Weapons Training Battalion, the Marine Corps Shooting Team, serving as the Officer in Charge for the last year.
“’What are my personal and professional goals?’ is a question I ask myself every single day,” he said. “What are my objectives? How do I achieve my end state in the correct manner? Cheating is not to be tolerated or condoned, and hard work and discipline is necessary in order to achieve my objectives. What I have gained from competing are the tools, the pro tips, the techniques needed in order to be a better person, a better man of character, a better Marine officer.”