Three Lebanon County men have earned top marks in the Governor’s Twenty, an annual competition to determine the best marksmen in Pennsylvania.
The three Pennsylvania Guardsmen vied for the honor during multiple courses of fire at Fort Indiantown Gap on Aug. 14 and 15. More than 100 Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers and airmen competed.
Created in 1968, the Governor’s Twenty is a state-level National Guard award presented annually to the top 20 shooters in a state. Participants test their marksmanship skills and weapon systems in four different matches: the 400-yard slow fire, combat rifle excellence in competition, 30-yard slow fire and combat pistol excellence in competition.
This year, Sgt. Jason Goodling of York County earned top honors. Top placers from Lebanon County were Sgt. 1st Class Scott Sheroky of Fredericksburg (third), Chief Warrant Officer 4 Richard Jones Jr. of Lebanon (11th) and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Andrew Harrison of Palmyra (12th).
Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said the event is “an intense marksmanship competition” for the troops.
“This competition is the great equalizer,” he said in a statement. “It does not matter whether you are Army or Air Force, officer or enlisted, young or old, or what type of unit you represent. Whoever can shoot the best can be a Governor’s Twenty.”
Jones, 41, has logged 19 years of active federal military service and six years with the Pennsylvania National Guard. He joined, he said, for the opportunity to be a full-time instructor pilot for the state.
He has competed six times for the Governor’s Twenty, and this is his fifth placement among the top 20.
“I felt pretty confident going in to the competition,” he said in an email, although “I had hoped to do a little better than I finished.”
He said he was most confident in his pistol shooting and most concerned about the rifle portion of the event.
Jones serves as a UH60M Standardization Instructor Pilot with the Eastern ARNG Aviation Training Site, specializing in qualifying pilots in the UH60M Black Hawk helicopter and qualifying instructor pilots in the UH60 Black Hawk helicopter.
Harrison, 43, transferred to the Pennsylvania National Guard in 2016, after serving six years of active duty and 14 years in the Michigan National Guard. He transferred to Fort Indiantown Gap, he said, to teach helicopter pilots there.
He has competed in the Governor’s Twenty three times, he said, and he has placed among the top 20 each time.
“I always feel a little excitement before a match, and I always hope to do better than my last performance,” Harrison said.
He, too, said he is most confident with the pistol.
Sheroky did not respond to a request for comment.
The Army and Air Force both recognize the state award, and placing in the Governor’s Twenty is reflected on a service member’s official personnel record, according to the official release. The top 20 scorers were awarded the Governor’s Twenty tab and a certificate identifying them as being outstanding marksmen.
The competition was conducted by the Individual Training Branch’s Marksmanship Training Unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard.