USAMU in 2010 recap: A year like no other.

FORT LEE, Va. - Sgt. Sherri Gallagher departs the rifle…

FORT LEE, Va. – Sgt. Sherri Gallagher departs the rifle range after qualifying during the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition here Oct. 21. Gallagher was named the Army Soldier of the Year at the Association of the U.S. Army award luncheon Monday in Washington D.C. (U.S. Army Accessions Command photo by Forest Berkshire )

For the “Home of Champions,” setting an unprecedented standard of excellence is no easy task. Collectively, the Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit unwavering commitment to uphold its standard of excellence led to what may have been the unit’s most successful year ever since the unit’s inception in 1956 across all aspects of its wide-ranging mission.

USAMU’s mission is to enhance the Army’s recruiting effort, raise the standard of the Army’s marksmanship proficiency, and support the Army’s small arms research and development initiatives in order to raise the Army’s overall combat readiness.
In 2010, USAMU trained more Soldiers, played a crucial role in leading innovative small arms research and development initiatives, and put the very best of Army Soldier skills on display to an unmatched degree as the unit’s Soldiers won more world and national championships than ever before.

While the USAMU maintained a forward deployed presence throughout the entire year and established a successful and novel
marksmanship instruction program for Afghan National Army soldiers, one of the most gratifying aspects of its commitment to the war may have been the unit’s role in the first-ever ANA female Officer Candidate School class. Sgt. 1st Class Janet Sokolowski volunteered to deploy to teach this inaugural class how to properly shoot the M9 pistol.

“It was the one of the most rewarding things I have ever been part of,” said Sokolowski. “The girls were like sponges. They realized the opportunity in front of them and listened to everything I told them. I wish I could have stayed longer.”

USAMU will continue to provide a persistent rotating presence or marksmanship training teams to Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.

FORT BENNING, Ga.–Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, instructs an Afghan National Army soldier on proper marksmanship techniques with an M16A2 rifle while deployed to Afghanistan. Parker, a three-time Olympian, and Soldiers from the USAMU have been deployed this year to established a novel marksmanship instruction program for ANA soldiers. (Courtesy photo)

At home, the USAMU trained more than 4,000 Soldiers from Forces Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and TRADOC on marksmanship fundamentals and techniques. It hosted the highest-attended All-Army Small Arms Championship of all-time, enabling more than 300 Soldiers from across the force to receive premium training while competing in stressful situations. The unit also established a new combined Close Quarters Squad Designated Marksman class, which added to
the slew of marksmanship programs offered to Soldiers and units as they improve their marksmanship techniques prior to deploying to combat.

The unit’s Custom Firearms Shop leveraged its expertise and facilities to improve weapon systems and ammunition, and provide rapid feedback to ongoing broader Army research and development projects. A highlight was maintaining the unit’s proud tradition of providing the Army with its precision long-range small arms.

“For nearly half a century, our Army and our Soldiers have benefitted from the experience and skills of the absolute best gunsmiths in the world – the gunsmiths of the USAMU Custom Firearms Shop,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander, USAMU. “The M21, M24, M4 Designated Marksman Rifle, and M24 upgrade (M2010), were all developed and tested
by the shop.”

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