01 Aug 2023

GSDF Soldiers to Compete in Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition

Georgia State Defense Force Soldiers to Compete in Nationally Renowned Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition | Brunswick Ammunition Manufacturer Makes Donation

01 Aug 2023 - Joseph Mezzatesta

Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) Soldier Staff Sgt. Jon Van Holm is recognized as the first GSDF Soldier to be tabbed the Governors Twenty at the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition, Fort Stewart, Ga., March 15, 2019. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Tori Miller

The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) prepares to compete in the renowned Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition this year, along with the Georgia Air National Guard and the Georgia Army National Guard (GAARNG). This year’s competition will occur at Fort Stewart, Ga., September 6–11. 

The GSDF has supported the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition and the companion event, the Small Arms Leaders Course, since their inception in 2013. GSDF handles critical duties, such as target setup and maintenance, score keeping, ammunition control, and management of the target pit on the 1000m range. GSDF Soldiers bring various life experiences and skills to bear in events like this. GSDF Soldiers have helped solve problems and make improvements, regardless of the tasks assigned.

The GSDF Competition Marksmanship Team

The concept of a GSDF marksmanship team was the brainchild of Col. Donald Lankford, who spent years laying the groundwork for what has become the Competition Marksmanship Team (CMT).  Over the years, a handful of GSDF Soldiers have participated in training, some even competing in mixed teams (individual GSDF Soldiers from different units). 

In 2019, GSDF Staff Sgt. Jon Van Holm gave an exceptional performance, placing third overall.      
Staff Sgt. Holm was the first GSDF Soldier tabbed with the Governors Twenty award. The Governors Twenty Tab is a state-level National Guard award, created in 1968, that is awarded to the top 20 shooters in a state. Award criteria vary from state-to-state.

A First! A Full GSDF Team for this Year’s Competition

This year—for the first time—the GSDF will field a full team and support personnel for the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition. 

The skilled GSDF team should make the competition an exciting event for all participants. The GSDF team is expected to fare well in this year’s competition.

A Southern Ballistics Research Donation

Southern Ballistics Research (SBR), based in Brunswick, Georgia, recently donated ammunition to facilitate marksmanship training and reduce Soldier-borne costs. This donation allows CMT to hold practice sessions, and it also opens the possibility of civilian competitions to expand the visibility of the GSDF and SBR.

This ammunition donation will allow for a live-fire training lane during the GSDF’s annual training scheduled for later this year. The lane will include a review of firearms safety and an opportunity for Soldiers to fire the M4 rifle and M17 pistol in a controlled environment.

A Component of the Georgia Department of Defense

The GSDF is an unarmed component of the Georgia Department of Defense. However, firearms safety training is crucial for the GSDF’s support of and participation in the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition.

If you are interested in joining the GSDF CMT or supporting the Andrew Sullens Marksmanship Competition, contact Warrant Officer 1 Joseph Mezzatesta at 404.432.9216 or joseph.mezzatesta@gasdf.us.

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