Breaking news from Boden, Sweden at the World Military Olympics (CISM) Shooting Championship. USAMU and the team they put together have won Best Nation! This is a monumental achievement, made even more extraordinary by the fact that our team was down by as many as forty points today.
The work that our Soldiers did to come back was something for the history books. Ultimately, they pulled a total victory out by 10 points. We have not won this title at any CISM in 8 years. We beat Scandinavian militaries that actually have a CISM team in their military, and the Germans who had their Olympic team shooting as well. Many countries induct their Olympic athletes into their military and put uniforms on them for this very prestigious international competition.
Our Soldiers were shooting in events that are only shot at CISM-- they are not events that they practice throughout the year (demonstrating, in spades, how important the fundamentals of marksmanship are!).
When you consider USAMU's past year here is a quick summary of what they have achieved: 2 Olympic Gold medals in Beijing, sweeps in Service Rifle and Service Pistol at the Nationals, national champions in Action Shooting, "Best Nation" at CISM AND thousands of Soldiers trained for combat- a good year. And it's not over.
FORT BRAGG, NC—Sergeant First Class Elisa Tennyson picked up the North American Cup Series Championship honors, scoring enough points to edge out competitor Jimmy Drummond. Tennyson, a veteran skydiver and top medalist, is the style and accuracy team leader for the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights. Throughout the year, close to 40 jumpers from the U.S. and Canada competed for the Cup honors traveling from Texas to Connecticut and points in between.
“The North American Cup Series is run much like the World Cup Series” says Tennyson. “It is a points-based competition, with the number one jumper honors going to the competitor with the highest overall score, based from their top three meets.” Two other members of the Golden Knight’s style and accuracy team finished in the top five, Sergeant First Class Angela Nichols finished fourth and Staff Sergeant Norma Estrella finished fifth.
Tennyson and her teammates have been preparing for competition throughout the year. The team recently returned from Slovakia bringing home Silver in overall country at the 30th FAI World Style and Accuracy Parachuting Championships. Now the team’s focus is on the upcoming Nationals competition in October. Last year, Tennyson swept the competition in accuracy and style. This year they head to Arizona for the Nationals with their hopes set on bringing home hardware. According to Tennyson, “This whole team will do very well at Nationals.” “Norma is doing really well; I think she’s a medal contender for style.” As for Tennyson herself, “It’s a two-cent (two centimeter bull’s-eye) pad this year (for accuracy), but in style I’m going to try to do something a little different…I need to step it up a little bit.”
Story By: Cheryle Rivas, U.S.A.P.T.
Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) Sergeant Travis Tomasie just won the US Handgun Nations Limited Division. This is an achievement no Soldier has ever accomplished before. Even in the civilian shooting community, only 4 other people have ever won this title since 1993. What is even more impressive, is that SGT Tomasie beat ALL four of those previous champions and 231 other competitors.
SGT Tomasie is the first Soldier to ever win the Limited Nations. SGT Tomasie becomes the 5th person--civilian or military-- to win this prestigious title.
Limited division is considered by all to be the most difficult division due to the depth of talent, and the very low tolerance for error. Those who compete are considered to be "the best of the best". The individual who wins is recognized to be above them all.
SGT Tomasie started the 2008 Nationals strong (but on a conservative pace), staying within 3 points of the lead, on the last day he pulled all the stops winning by 32 match points, the largest margin since 1993! Making this win more impressive is the fact that all the former National champions as well as the reigning National champion where in attendance and also shot great matches!
US Practical shooting is like NASCAR in many respects-- there are limits to what you can and can not do to your equipment. Nowhere is this more true than in limited division. The pistols are high capacity, minimum of .40 caliber and must have iron sights and no compensators. These restrictions bring out the best shooters who want to compete without the equipment race of the open or unlimited division.
236 of the World's best shooters competed in this grueling 3 day tournament, SGT Tomasie beat them all!
By any measure, this achievement is truly remarkable , accomplished by a magnificent AMU Soldier.
Tulsa, OK — Travis Tomasie, a Sergeant with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, has, after 13 years, won his first national pistol title in the Limited Division at the Smith & Wesson Limited, Production and Revolver USPSA National Championships held September 7-9 at the U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “It feels so good to finally do it,” said Tomasie of his victory over a field of more than 230 top competition shooters all vying for the coveted Limited title. “I worked hard all year and felt as though I was peaking at the right moment here at the Nationals.” Tomasie entered the final day of the three day competition in second place just under a point behind STI's Ted Puente of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and nearly two points ahead of STI's Manny Bragg of Kirksville, Missouri. Para USA's Todd Jarrett, the nine-time national champion was in fourth, a little more than 16 points back but within striking distance. But according to Tomasie, the final stages of the match seemed tailor made to fit his shooting style allowing him to move ahead. “I went into day three behind but with a very positive attitude and felt that, with the stages that remained, the technical shooting required and the difficult target placement, the course really played to my strengths and I had the advantage,” explained Tomasie. In the end, Tomasie won by more than 31 points with Jarrett in second surging on the last stage to move ahead of Puente. Finishing fourth was Shannon Smith of Tampa, Florida, and Bragg took fifth overall. “I’ve been watching Travis come along over the years and the guy’s an extremely good shot. I saw him shoot his first Nationals, and while I’d rather it was me in getting the trophy, I’m real happy for Travis,” said Jarrett. “He’s in the club now.” Starting Thursday, Tomasie will compete in the USPSA Open & Limited-10 National Championships as part of the back-to-back format of the nationals. He’ll be competing in the Limited-10 Division against many of the same shooters.
Here is SGT Tomasie, featured in a Shooting USA Pro Tips video...
"When a man does his best, what else is there?” – Gen. Patton
Well, when his best is an Olympic Gold medal, there’s the triumphant journey home.
(Fort Benning, GA) – When most Olympic champions ascend the podium, they have a small contingent of family and supporters to thank for helping them achieve their dreams. But when Specialist Glenn Eller and Private First Class Vincent Hancock received their gold medals in Beijing, they did so knowing that their family is a little bigger. Over a million of their uniformed brothers and sisters will share in their triumph – especially those who trained beside them at the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) based in Fort Benning, Georgia.
“I’m extremely proud to be able to represent the Army and my country,” said Hancock. “I’m dedicating my gold medal to my fellow Soldiers.”
Though considered USA’s Shooter of the Year 2006 in his discipline of Skeet, Hancock was not considered a major medal contender, being only 19 years old and having only three years of international competition under his belt. But analysts didn’t count on his determination to prove himself Army strong, or his resolve to make America proud.
After a stunning qualifying round in which he set an Olympic record, Hancock was ahead by one shot going into the final. A heartbreaking miss of a single target, and the door was open for Norway to steal the gold. Most expected him to buckle under the enormous pressure. “It just made me more determined,” said Hancock, “I knew I wouldn’t miss again.” With signature strength and composure, he rallied back to squeeze out the gold in a final shoot-out, winning by single perfect point. His final score? 145, another Olympic record.
Hancock wasn’t the only one shattering Olympic records on the range. The third time proved to be the charm for Eller, who previously failed to medal at the games in both Sydney and Athens. However, in Beijing, Eller’s outstanding qualifying round gave him both an Olympic record and a four point lead going into the finals in the men’s double trap.
The field’s youngest competitor at 26 years old, Eller looked shaken when he missed his first two targets of the final round. “It was a little dicey there for a second,” he admitted. Again, composure and training helped get the shooter back on track. “I just calmed myself down and made sure I went back through my routine—what got me into the final.”
Eller made his way into Olympic record books a second time with an impressive final score of 190. He gives credit, selflessly, to his teammates and training at the AMU. “Since I joined the Army in 2006, I've had nothing but the best training facilities and the absolute best teammates to push and support me," Eller said. "It makes such a huge difference, and I truly believe they've helped me fulfill a dream. I don't think this would've ever happened without them."
Both men have trips planned to their hometowns to share their gold medal victory with loved ones. Houston, Texas is throwing a barbecue for SPC Eller, and Eatonton, Georgia is planning on giving PFC Hancock the key to the city. Parties, parades and enthusiastic congratulations assuredly await them, but both Soldiers are undoubtedly excited to return to the AMU and the 32 eagle-eyed hot shots they’ve lived and trained with. They’ll find no shortage of praise from that camp either.
“The Army asked these young men to go and represent their military and the United States, and they certainly made us proud," said AMU commander Lieutenant Colonel Frank Muggeo.
LTC Muggeo is not just pleased with their performance, but with their composure afterwards. "They were professional,” he said. “Although when we spoke seven hours later, each of them still had the same grins on their faces that they had at the medal ceremony."
Upon their return to Fort Benning, Eller and Hancock are both slated to be inducted into the AMU Hall of Fame. They will be honored alongside the 22 other Soldiers who have medaled in shooting events since the unit was formed in 1956.
Looking forward, both marksmen are focused on the future, including training, world competitions and the London Olympics four years from now. With their gold medals in tow, one thing is for certain. Win or lose, these two lucky men have an extremely large and entirely devoted family to back them, as Americans and Olympians, but most of all, as Soldiers.
Gold Standard: Army Soldiers Achieve Mission of Earning Olympic Gold Medals in Beijing
Elite Army Marksmen Return to Hometowns with Olympic Gold
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Army Strong Soldiers, Private First Class Vincent Hancock and Specialist Glenn Eller, are proudly returning to their hometowns to announce the successful accomplishment of their mission that has been years in the making. Their assignment: bring home a gold medal from the Beijing Olympics. Both Soldiers are members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) based out of Fort Benning, Ga.
"Representing the United States is the ultimate honor. And to represent it in the Olympic games and to win a gold medal and to raise the flag for your country and then as well do it for the Army - there is no greater honor," Eller said.
Spc. Eller will show off his gold medal at celebrations in his home state of Texas over the Labor Day weekend, including a barbecue bash in Houston on Sunday, Aug. 31.
Eatonton, Ga. will declare Friday, Aug. 29 Vincent Hancock Day and honor his achievement with a parade through his hometown. Pfc. Hancock will also be presented with a coveted key to the city on Saturday, Aug. 30.
"I’m very proud to be able to represent the Army and my country which is why I’m dedicating my gold medal to my fellow Soldiers. This is my mission and I’ve succeeded," said Hancock.
Hancock says winning the gold medal in a sudden death shoot off was like a dream come true and everything he imagined it would be. He is the youngest of his AMU teammates at 19.
"I've dreamt of going to the Olympics ever since I was 12, but I never really thought I would do it. The Army has given me the confidence I needed to make it go from a dream to reality," Hancock said.
Hancock has distinguished himself in skeet shooting since he started competing at age 11. By 16, the Eatonton, Ga., native was competing internationally. He earned accolades including USA Shooting's "Shooter of the Year" in 2006. After graduating from Gatewood High School in Georgia, Hancock enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the AMU in 2007.
Eller set an Olympic record en route to winning his first Olympic gold medal in double trap, earning a score of 190 in the finals to top the previous record of 189. In the event, competitors fire their 12-guage shotguns at five different stations, where two targets are thrown simultaneously from an underground bunker at speeds upwards of 50 mph at set angles and heights.
The 26-year-old from Katy, Texas credits the Army with giving him the edge he needed during his third Olympic appearance.
"I started shooting when I was eight, and I've had a lot of success over the years, but I came in 12th in Sydney and 17th in Athens. Since I joined [the Army] in 2006, I've had nothing but the best training facilities and the absolute best teammates to push and support me," Eller said. "It makes such a huge difference, and I truly believe they've helped me fulfill a dream. I don't think this would've ever happened without them."
The athletes’ were welcomed back home to Fort Benning, GA by their large, proud Army family.
"The Army asked these young men to go and represent their military and the United States, and they certainly made us proud," said AMU commander Lieutenant Colonel Frank Muggeo.
Lt. Col. Muggeo is not just proud of their performance, but of their composure afterwards.
"They didn’t act like they've never won before, or they never expect to be there again - they were professional," he said. "Although when we spoke seven hours later, each still had the grin on their face that was present at the medal ceremony."
The future road for these Army Soldiers could be lined with more gold according to three-time Olympic Army marksman Lones Wigger Jr. The 70-year-old retired Army Lt. Col. won two Olympic gold medals and one silver medal during his shooting career. He was also inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame this year.
"It was a tremendous honor to be the first shooter entering the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame," Wigger said. "I know that Spc. Eller and Pfc. Hancock have the same Army training and discipline to help them fulfill their wildest dreams too."
Wigger says another honor awaits Eller and Hancock when they are eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame at the AMU. They will join 22 other Soldiers who medaled in shooting events at the Olympics since the unit was established in 1956.
To learn more about the U.S. Army athletes and training, visit
The Golden Knights have won their first Gold medal in Canopy Piloting. Events were speed, distance and area accuracy with the micro canopies. The men swept the competion with SFC Greg Windmiller winning the Gold, SFC Chris Moore silver and SGM Michael "Ike" Eitniear winning Bronze. The competition was a Regional swoop competiton in Colorado that was watched by the Secret Service to ensure no one diverted into the Denver DNC convention. This is a remarkable achievement--by any standard-- and a true testament to the hard work of these three senior Non-Commissioned Officers. As Ike told me, "[we are now the] top 3 amateurs as we just got pro rated last night! We compete against the pros today at the US nationals."
This from the Competition blog: "The team came out of no where with solid and consistent runs during the competition. They told us they came to get their PST pro cards and it was one of their main goals for the Swoop Week. Not only did they win first, second and third place receiving their pro cards they also donated their $5,000 cash winnings! 50% went to the Wounded Warrior Foundation and they gave the remaining money to 4th, 5th and 6th place. Competitors were surprised to receive the cash and it was a first in canopy piloting. The Golden Knights performance at this year's championships is great for the Army but even bigger for the canopy piloting community. Little by little the Army Golden Knights have been making their way onto the scene...." Congratulations and Good Luck at Nationals!