Arkansas Air National Guard Marksmanship Training team participates in international shooting competition

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jessica Condit
  • 189th Airlift Wing

The 189th Airlift Wing’s Marksmanship Team selected two outstanding members to represent the wing and the Arkansas Air National Guard in an upcoming international marksmanship match to take place in Canada at the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration. The members, Tech. Sgt. Scotty Daniel and Master Sgt. Matthew Smith, will represent the team and the wing this weekend, competing against marksmen from countries around the world. 

For the first time in 15 years, the Arkansas Air National Guard will be competing in an international match. According to Daniel, the funding is not always available to compete internationally. Being diligent with resources and time that has been given the two competitors, they were able to qualify and were sent an invitation to participate. In addition to building relationships with other countries during international matches such as this, the team enjoys the camaraderie between each other as well as other branches of service within the Department of Defense.

“These extracurriculars break down barriers for networking,” said Daniel. “It’s a great way for people of all backgrounds to come together and learn new things. It builds confidence as you get in and get better.” 

For everyone, the experience is different. Some people join to fulfill an opportunity greater than simply being part of something. Meeting Airmen from across the wing and building good rapport with other service members you would otherwise not have an opportunity to meet, adds to the experience of being a member of the marksmanship team. 

“For me it adds to the Guard experience,” said Smith. “You get a better picture of more than just your job. If it wasn’t for being on the marksmanship team, I would never have met people I now know.”

“You got people from the medical group, maintenance, mission support and more,” said Maj. Seth Connell, a member of the Marksmanship Team. “From maintenance to medical, it’s a very interesting dynamic. You see airmen or junior noncommissioned officers working with officers and it really helps to share the positive experience. It’s these extracurriculars that really break down the barriers.” 

The team participates in several different matches throughout the year, earning different achievements. Throughout the matches, marksmen earn titles such as the Governor’s 20 Tab, Chief’s 50 Badge, Excellence in Competition Distinguished Rifle and Pistol Badge and President’s 100 Tab. As the marksmen compete in the different competitions, they also earn cumulative points which help them obtain bronze, silver and gold badges. 

The TAG Match, takes place every year at the state level and is hosted by the state adjutant general. Approximately 125 - 150 marksman comprised of Army and Air National Guard, compete each year. Unit teams are required to incorporate new members into the team in order to participate, and state coordinators use the opportunity to identify the new shooters to represent their state at regional-level competitions. 

Team members must be in a military status in order to participate in matches and practices. Full-time as well as traditional Guard members are encouraged to sign up. Tryouts for the team are on Dec. 8th. The team will use live-fire rounds under the supervision of range control experts to test our Airmen on their firing skills. 

“We’re always looking for new team members,” said Daniel. “The more team members we get, the more resources we get. The more we have the better we can do. The wing leadership has done a tremendous job supporting us. The things they’ve been able to provide us, the more we have to spend on other things we need.” 

Throughout the past three years, the team has proven more than ready and capable to handle the responsibility of training. According to Smith, the Marksmanship Training Center, located at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Ark., allows the team to organize and train their own own teams as well as other teams to compete for the state of Arkansas. The close proximity to the Army National Guard base allows them to utilize the asset as well as the professional instruction from trained personnel. 

“You prove success with what you got,” said Connell. “We’re finally at that next step where we can prove our worth. The more you get your name out there, the more you can ask for. Start off small and keep it going.”

The team is currently looking for new members to join. During the 189th Airlift Wing Family Day, Oct. 19, the team will be available to answer questions and bring new people onboard. If you are interested in joining the team, please contact Tech. Sgt. Scotty Daniel at or Master Sgt. Matt Smith at