VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Two years ago, the 30th Security Forces Squadron began hosting the Rifle and Pistol Elementary Excellence-in-Competition program, which recognizes marksmanship and awards the Non National Bronze medal to the top ten percent of competitors.
The EIC program is open to all Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard military members.
“The program was established as part of the Air Force shooting program by Col. Thomas Kelly at the request of Gen. Curtis LeMay, creating their own distinguished medals in the mid 1950’s,” said Master Sgt. Austin Schneider, 30th SFS logistics and readiness section chief. “We have been running the EIC for the last two years, it is coordinated by security forces and specifically run by the combat arms section. The program allows us to award the Elementary Bronze Badges. In the last two years we have awarded 16 rifle badges and 15 pistol badges. We are actually going to start doing this every six months if we can, instead of annually.”
Although the EIC is a nationally sponsored event, it still relies on the discretion of the base Security Forces Squadron as to whether they have the manning to host it.
“It can be challenging to host because we have to fit it into our normal monthly schedule and accommodate a whole week of competition,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Dunphy, 30th SFS assistant NCOIC combat arms. “Not to mention making sure we have enough instructors and firing line officials to last all week.”
The shooting competition uses the M16A2 rifle and the M9 pistol, with all required ammunition supplied by the 30th SFS.
“Many people don’t get the opportunity to shoot the M16 or the M9 unless they are deploying,” said Dunphy. “This gives people a chance to get on the range and shoot – for free. It gets you out of the office to have a little ‘trigger therapy’ and again to have that EIC medal. Even if a person is not experienced, it’s nice to come down, take a break, shoot some targets and have fun. There is nothing like a good old fashioned competition. Plus, there are not many people with an EIC medal, so it gives bragging rights to individuals that are awarded one.”
To excel in the competition it is recommended that individuals practice the fundamentals of shooting prior to the event.
“There are two courses of fire,” said Schneider. “The rifle course is 50 rounds at four small targets, and the pistol course is one larger target and you are shooting 30 rounds. They are two very different courses and each require a very different approach. It requires a slower style of shooting and you really have to focus on your fundamentals and positioning. This is the only way to get the badge authorized for wear with the uniform.”
The next EIC will be held Oct. 2nd through 5th, 2017. For more information contact the 30th SFS combat arms at 605-5025