US Army Reserve Shooting Teams Alumni Association

USAR patch


From the mid-1950's to 1968 the USAR Marksmanship Program consisted of a Service Rifle Team led by Sam Burkhalter and a Service Pistol Team led by Lee McKinney. Each year the teams would be constituted as the Battalion, Brigade, ARCOM, and Army Area Matches were conducted. The All-USAR Teams would then compete in the National Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. They would then disband until the next Spring. They were not quite up to beating the Army or USMC teams in the big matches. They were hoping to beat the National Guard.

The Chief, Army Reserve (CAR), Maj. Gen. William Sutton was a Distinguished Rifleman. He strongly believed in marksmanship as during World War II he had to deploy cooks, supply personnel, truck drivers, etc. to defend his unit. He learned that it was important for all soldiers to know how to shoot well. MG Sutton and later CAR's supported the USAR Marksmanship Program very well into the late 1980's.

LTC (Ret.) Joseph B. Berry joined the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve in 1967 after a career as an Infantry officer . Joe had served in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II and was called up out of law school for the Korean War. Joe had shot on the All-Army Service Rifle Teams in 1955-57, was a Distinguished Rifleman and had served as the Executive Officer, National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). The USAR Marksmanship Program was an additional duty he had besides his duties in Operations and Training in the OCAR office. Entry of the Reserve Components in the U.S. Army Rifle and Pistol Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia was arranged and All-USAR Shooting Teams were selected to compete in Interservice and the National Championships.

When MAJ Bruce Meredith, the OIC of the USAMU International Rifle Section, left Active Duty in late 1968 Joe asked that he start an International Division for the USAR Marksmanship Program. Bruce felt he could do the best job if he only took the International Rifle portion of it. He started with all the former USAMU International Rifle Section members he could find and got Mike Griggs to honcho the Running Boar section. With a nucleous of famous shooters like David Kimes, William Rigby, John Writer, David Ross III and later Margaret Murdock, good things started happening quickly. The Service Rifle and Service Pistol sections mainly used the "farm system" of the ARCOM Championships, Army Area Championships, All-Army Championships to develop their shooters with an occasional shooter coming off of Active Duty added to the mix.

Bruce also championed the concept of year-round training and competition. There were the National Indoor Championships to win and to be the best, you needed to train. Needless to say, the concept worked. Service Rifle and Service Pistol saw the benefits and eventually a small nucleous of the top shooters were kept active during the winter in all disciplines. All of a sudden, the USAR Marksmanship Program was a force to be reckoned with. The mission was not to just beat the National Guard, but to beat everyone.

The rest is history. After 1985 there was a major push towards training the USAR troop units, but the various USAR teams and individuals still continued winning their share. Politics and budget cuts finally took their toll. While only Service Rifle, Service Pistol and the Combat Team are currently being supported, let us not forget the fantastic record achieved by all sections over the last thirty or so years. There are no Army Area Matches or All-Army Matches to help bring new talent in, but the USAR Marksmanship program is still winning it's share.

1969 USAR Marksmanship Meeting

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