BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Marksmen from all over the world will match their shooting skills on the firing lines at the Camp Perry National Guard Training Facility in Port Clinton over the next few weeks. Last Monday, July 10, two of the icons of high-powered rifle competitions in America opened the National Rifle and Pistol Matches.
Also known as World Series of the Shooting Sports, and held on the spacious ranges of Camp Perry, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Green kicked off the month-long competitions by borrowing a special rifle from the legendary Director Emeritus of the Department of Civilian Marksmanship, Gary Anderson, who has lived in the Camp Perry area for many years.
It was a bittersweet moment for Green. Considered the top marksman of the modern era, Green has helped the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit to amazing success over the past two decades. His perfect score of 400-20X in 2018 in the prestigious President’s Match at Camp Perry that year has never been matched.
Green revealed that he still enjoys shooting and competitions, but felt it was time to retire. When Green came to Camp Perry this week, he admitted to the crowd that he didn’t have time to write a retirement speech because a little shooting inadvertantly corralled his time.
“I stopped to watch the Smallbore Prone Iron Sight Championships, and I told Smallbore Program Manager Brad Donoho that it looked like a lot of fun,” he said. “Don’t you know, a guy had an extra smallbore rifle I could borrow, as well as a lot of ammo.”
Green’s brief but stirring speech allowed the First Shot crowd the chance for a sigh of relief on a very hot, sunny day on the shoreline of Lake Erie. Green kept his remarks short, and efficiently took a shot on the downrange target with Anderson’s rifle.
Anderson used the same rifle to set the 200-yard standing match record in the 1971 National Matches. Anderson fired the same rifle to kick off the 2014 First Shot Ceremony.
The list of political celebrities to speak included U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Toledo and U.S. Congressman Bob Latta of Bowling Green, Mayor Mike Snider of Port Clinton and Mayor Quinton Babcock of Oak Harbor.
Adding to the military magic of the shooting sports were a pair of World War II airplanes from the nearby Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton. The B-25 Bomber, Georgie’s Girl, was accompanied by a U.S. Navy TBM Avenger fighter plane. On-the-ground pyrotechnic “bombs” were synchronized with the airplanes they flew over the Camp Perry’s Petrarca Shooting Range.