Story by Sgt. 1st Class John Buol
416th Theater Engineer Command
COLUMBUS, Ga. – Members of the Army Reserve Competitive Marksmanship Program took medals at the 2014 International Shooting Sport Federation Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning, Ga., March 26 through April 3.
Of the three shooters from Team USA who took medals at the ISSF event, hosted at the Army Marksmanship Team home range, two of them are Reserve Soldiers.
Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson, of Honolulu and assigned to the 4960th Multi-Functional Training Brigade, took gold in the International Rapid Fire match. To take first, Sanderson had to beat Christian Reitz of Germany, who holds the world record and is currently ranked No. 1 in the event.
Sanderson said, “Before my injury in 2009, I was trading places with him. He always makes the final and is very good.”
Rapid Fire consists of strings of five shots fired at 25 meters in decreasing time limits on electronically-scored targets.
“I've been busy training and qualifying Marines in Hawaii and haven't had time to train the way I like. I focused on the four second stage. It seemed to work out,” Sanderson said. “Entering into the final, it was mathematically impossible for me to lose at that point but that last string was still difficult. The pressure was still high, just to prove I truly earned the win. I ended up with a 50 out of 50 on that last string.”
Pfc. Nick Mowrer, of Fort Carson, Colo., and assigned to the 420th Engineer Brigade, competed in Free Pistol and Prone Rifle, taking bronze in the rifle event. In addition to the medal, Mowrer's performance earned an International Distinguished Badge, making him the 38th American in United States history to go triple distinguished, having already earned Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot ratings.
Sanderson and Mowrer are the only two currently-serving servicemen in the entire United States Department of Defense to hold the triple distinguished rating.
Mowrer overcame a recent ISSF rule change scoring the entire Prone Rifle event, including qualification, by decimals and not just integers.
“In the past, qualifications were scored as whole integers and only the finals were by decimals,” the shooter explained. “Now, every shot for record in Prone and Air Rifle events are scored to a tenth of a point. It basically takes the target from 10 scoring rings to 100.”
With their wins at this World Cup, Sanderson and Mowrer have advanced and are on track for the 2016 Olympics.