Home Event venue DVIDS – News – Five US Army Soldiers to Represent Team USA in World Championship Shotgun Events in Croatia

DVIDS – News – Five US Army Soldiers to Represent Team USA in World Championship Shotgun Events in Croatia


Five soldiers from Fort Benning will represent Team USA at the upcoming International Federation of Shooting Sport Shotgun World Championships in Osijek, Croatia, Sept. 19-October 12.

To make Team USA, the soldiers, who are all Marksmanship Instructors/Competitive Shooters for the US Army Marksmanship Unit Shotgun Team, competed side-by-side with top trap and skeet athletes from across the country in various shooting selection matches across the United States. Now these soldiers at Fort Benning, along with their civilian teammates, will seek not only world championship medals, but also the coveted quota places for the 2024 Olympics.

To participate in the Olympics, each country must first earn a quota or place for one of its athletes, and only two athletes per event per country are allowed. The Croatia World Championship is the first opportunity for the United States to earn quota in the trap and skeet events.

That fact alone makes the Croatian World Championship a high-stakes competition, and soldiers know it.

“It is humbling and exciting to represent the United States Army and the United States at the World Championship,” said Sgt. Rachel Tozier, a native of Pattonsburg, Missouri, who will compete in both the women’s trapping and mixed trapping events.

After a competitive selection process, Sgt. Will Hinton, like Tozier, knows being part of the team was a privilege. However, now this Dacula, Georgia native says it’s time to put his past efforts to the test.

“Serious training and a focus on my sport have earned me a spot on the team. I’m excited to further exploit my abilities with the intention of earning an Olympic quota and a medal for the United States. and the United States Army at this world championship,” said Hinton, who will compete in the men’s trapping and mixed trapping events.

The Trap portion of the World Championship will take place September 26-30.

The Skeet portion of the World Championship will take place October 7-11 and will include three more USAMU Soldiers.

Newest to the unit, but not to the international competition circuit, is the Spc. Samantha Simonton from Gainesville, Georgia. This experienced world championship athlete will compete in the women’s skeet and mixed skeet events.

On the men’s side, there are two other soldiers from Fort Benning: Staff Sergeants Christian Elliott and Dustan Taylor. They will compete in the Men’s Skeet and Mixed Skeet events.

With top international competitors vying for limited medals and Olympic quota, the competition will be intense, but that’s also what makes this World Championship so unique, Elliott said.

“The ISSF World Championship hosts the highest caliber of international shotgun shooters every year. Being able to represent the United States military and the United States at this event inherently adds a level of pride and honor unmatched by many competitions,” said the Greenville, Indiana native.

With that level of pressure, soldiers know they have to overcome any anxiety and focus on the mission, Taylor said.

“I’m completely focused right now on my fundamentals, my foundation and my rotation. When all of that is in sync, the game slows down and the targets seem to get bigger,” the Liberty, NC native explained.

“During practice, I don’t focus on the score. I have a goal for each shot and I break down my body movement before shooting my next target. By making this second nature, I can identify the problems before they cause misfires without having to ask a trainer what my body did differently on the previous shot.

Of course, even with all the focus and determination on the process, deep down every soldier feels the excitement when they’re not on the range. For Taylor, competing in his first-ever world championship is more than a mission, it’s the biggest competition of his life.

“It’s an opportunity I’ve been dreaming of since the day I started shooting international skeet.”

To follow World Championship details, visit the ISSF website at https://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/venue/schedule.ashx?cshipid=3073.

Date taken: 21.09.2022
Date posted: 21.09.2022 12:08
Story ID: 429778
Location: FORT BENNING, Georgia, USA
Hometown: DACULA, Georgia, USA
Hometown: GAINESVILLE, Georgia, USA
Hometown: GREENVILLE, Georgia, USA
Hometown: LIBERTY, NY, USA

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