Submitted By John Tijerina
In early August of 2016 during the Summer Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the United States would win its first gold medal with Virginia Thrasher in the Women’s 10 meter Air Rifle event. One of the least known teams in the JROTC program is the three position, Air Rifle (Marksmanship) Team. Developed from the Olympic shooting events, the JROTC 3-Position Air Rifle is one of the oldest teams the program has to offer.
So what is rifle marksmanship? It is a skill sport where the rifle is aimed, controlled, and fired so as to consistently hit a distant, difficult target. Rifle marksmanship is a sport steeped in military heritage, a sport that stresses control, discipline, concentration, and extreme precision. It is an Olympic sport practiced world-wide and can be an enjoyable lifetime recreation and competition activity.
At Reagan, the JROTC Rifle Marksmanship Team is called Reagan’s Rifles. On this team, Cadets learn gun safety and basic marksmanship while practicing on the Rattler Battalion air rifle range. The team uses 4.5mm (.177 caliber pellet) air rifles and shoots from the standing, kneeling, and prone positions. The team is broken down into two sub-categories of Precision and Sporter. The Sporter section uses a Crossman Challenger for practice and competitions. This rifle is a good “starter” rifle as it is lighter and easier to use than the precision rifles. The Precision section is for those older Cadets who started out in Sporter and have more experience. They use a Feinwerkbau precision air rifle much like the one used by Miss Thrasher to win the gold.
As with other JROTC teams at Reagan, the air rifle competition season takes up most of the school year. The Reagan’s Rifles Sporter section is currently the 2016 Texas State Army Marksmanship Champions. They have also qualified for, and will travel to compete in, the JROTC Army National Air Rifle Championships in Anniston, Alabama in February. Congratulations to Elena Loveland, Ethan Constantino, Albert Franke, Juliana Hosey, and Madeleine Sodders for accomplishing this fantastic honor!