The National Guard's Top Rifle Shooter Published Dec. 21, 2009 By Capt Anthony L. Bucci 174FW, PAO Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY -- The Winston P. Winston National Marksmanship Conference was held in October in Little Rock, AR and a member from the 174 Fighter Wing won the award for top rifle shooter for the entire National Guard. Technical Sgt. Chris Ashley took home the 1st Place award for Individual Rifle Aggregate Champion (Open) making him the Guard's "Top" rifle shooter. In 2008 Technical Sgt. Chris Ashley placed in the top 15% of shooters out of approximately 400 shooters, but he was not happy with his performance. He felt he could do much better and vowed to himself that he would win the top award in the 2009 competition. He solicited advice from the reigning champ on how to improve and what he should focus on in his training. Armed with this knowledge and a determination to win the top spot he set out on his mission; to win the 2009 Individual Rifle Aggregate championship. So Technical Sgt. Ashley returned home and began a very rigorous and demanding training regimen. He would practice every day for at least one hour and on Sundays in an excess of six hours at a firing range he built. He built a firing range in his hometown of Constantia at an Engineering Training Facility with the support of Mr. Rich Dobey the facility manager. The range was built on an 800-foot long section of a runway on the facility, primarily by Technical Sgt. Ashley as well as some of his teammates from the 174FW Firing Team. "I want to "Thank" the unit for their support as well as my teammates and of course Mr. Rich Dobey for letting me use his facility to train. I would not have the easy access to a firing range if not for his help", said Ashley. In light of this impressive finish Technical Sgt. Ashley has been invited to tryout for the U.S. All-Guard High Power Team to be held at Little Rock, AR in April 2010. "Just to be invited to tryout is an honor. I am ecstatic for the opportunity to go and tryout for this team. It is a great honor for me and the 174FW", said Ashley. Technical Sgt. Ashley serves as an instructor for the 174FW Firing Team; he tells me that anyone can fire as long as they have "Availability, Ability and Compatibility" The only one that is not negotiable is compatibility, "you have to get along with your teammates".