MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The 46th Annual Twentynine Palms National Rifle Association Long Range Regional rifle matches were held at the Combat Center’s Marksmanship Training Unit rifle range Nov. 17 to 19.
Thirty-two people affiliated with the NRA and Marine Corps marksmanship teams participated in the event, which is just about three years younger than the base.
Altogether there were 14 matches. The rifles used in each match varied according to its category.
Match 1: McVey Memorial Trophy Match
This match was held at the 1,000-yard-line with any rifle and any sight, in the prone position at a slow-paced firing rate. Rich E. Vedvick came in first place with a total of 396 points in two days and hitting center mass 26 times. Thomas C. Fletcher Came placed second with a total of 289 points after both days, and Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Benedict placed third with 385 points.
Match 2: Stockinger Memorial Trophy Match
This match was held at the 1,000-yard-line, with any rifle and iron sight, in the prone position at a slow-paced firing rate. Placing first was Gary E. Rasmussen with a total of 199 points and trailing behind him was Vedvick in second place with 197 points and Fletcher in third place with 194 points.
Match 3: Onslow Memorial Trophy Match
This match spanned two days of firing at 1,000 yards with a service rifle, in the prone at a slow-paced firing rate. Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Marion placed first tallying 386 points, hitting center mass 12 times. Staff Sgt. Jason C. Benedict placed second with 384 points and 15 hits on center mass. And Master Sgt. Alexander Arrieta placed third with 374 points and 12 hits on center mass.
Match 3: Commanding General’s Grand Aggregate of Matches 1, 2 and 3
Vedvick placed first with a combined score of 950 points; J. Benedict placed second also with a combined score of 950 points but less hits on center mass; and Marion placed third with a combined score of 941 points.
Match 5: Team Service Rifles
This match competed with the service rifle as a team event. The “USMC Arbogast” team placed first with 691 points and the “Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command” team placed second with 658 points.
Match 5: Team Any Rifles
“Los Hombres Del Taco” placed first with 699 points, “Hard Holder Gold” coming in second with 695 points and “Sand Baggers” came in third with 666 points.
This match was from the 200-yard-line, standing at a slow-paced firing rate. J. Benedict placed first with 196 points; Dennis W. DeMille placed second with 193; and Marion trailed one point behind DeMille with 192 points, placing third.
This match was from the 200-yard-line, with a rapid-paced firing rate from the standing to sitting position. R. Benedict placed first with 200 points, and J. Benedict placed second and Arrieta placed third, both with a score of 199 points.
This match was from the 300-yard-line, with a rapid-paced firing rate from the standing to prone position. DeMille placed first with 199 points; Hubert Royal placed second with 198 points; and Gary E. Rasmussen placed third also with 198 points, but with two less hits on center mass.
This match was from the 600-yard-line at a slow-paced firing rate at the prone position. Arrieta placed first with 197 points; Rasmussen placed second with 196 points; and DeMille was two hits on center mass away from him, placing in third also with 196 points.
Match 10: Master Sergeant Jenks Memorial Trophy Aggregate Match
This match was the grand aggregate for matches 6 through 9, including 10. DeMille came out on top with a grand total of 784 points and 38 hits on center mass. J. Benedict and R. Benedict both had a grand total of 783 points, but J. Benedict came out in second with 15 more hits on center mass than R. Benedict.
This match was the slow-fire aggregate, grand totaling 6 and 9, including the 11th match. J. Benedict placed first with a total of 391 points; DeMille placed second with 388 points; and Arrietta placed third with 386 points.
This match was the rapid-fire aggregate, grand totaling match 7 and 8, including the 12th match. J. Benedict placed first with a score of 398 points; Arrieta placed second with 397 points; and DeMille placed third with 396 points.
Match 13: High Desert regional, Proof Trophy Aggregate Match
This match was the grand aggregate for the first 10 shot rounds of Matches 6 through 8 and the first 20 rounds of Match 9. Arrieta placed first with 491 points; DeMille placed second with 490 points; and J. Benedict placed third with 489 points.
Match 14: High Desert Regional Michel Gorchinski Memorial Trophy Aggregate Match
The final match was the grand aggregate of Matches 1 through 3 and 6 through 9. J. Benedict triumphed with first place scoring 1733 points; R. Benedict scored 1718 points and placed second; and Vedvick came in third with a score of 1716 points.
For Steven Ikeda, Alhambra, Calif., native, this was his first rifle competition. He has been an NRA member since 1992.
I do this for fun,” said Ikeda. “I put all of my spare time into this all for pleasure. It’s great to have a fun time during a challenging competition. The competition was higher than I expected which means that I will just have to have more fun practicing. I just thought my shooting was so accurate I might as well shoot to compete.”
The event also brought Huntington Beach, Calif., native Larry Taite for the first time to a NRA competition.
It’s been a great time so far,” said Taite. “I always have a great time shooting. But more than that, it was a pleasure meeting some Marines. After seeing the base, it was brought to my attention that our country stays safe because of what goes on in this base. I found myself thinking about that today, which makes [the event] more enjoyable for me. I thanked about all the Marines here for providing the liberty and safety to raise a family here. I’ve been off to a good start so far.”
Sgt. Kevin Arbogast, Marine Corps rifle team coach out of Quantico, Va., has been coaching the USMC Arbogast team for a year. They picked up first place in Match 5.
We’ve won an extensive amount of rifle competitions,” said Arbogast. “We’ve competed against many skillful and challenging teams in our past, which most of our individual team members won. What made this match tougher for us is the wind here [at the Combat Center]. There’s usually no stronger wind than the High Desert when we compete. The competition is great today, and it was a good time to talk to other expert riflemen.”