Soldiers and airmen with the Pennsylvania National Guard compete in the annual Governor's Twenty Marksmanship Competition at Fort Indiantown Gap on May 11, 2024. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Nelson)

More than 100 soldiers and airmen with the Pennsylvania National Guard competed in the annual Governor’s Twenty marksmanship competition at Fort Indiantown Gap on May 9-11.

The competition, which is organized and run by the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Marksmanship Training Unit and this year featured the efforts of 107 service members, determines the top 20 marksmen in the state. The 20 top scorers earn the right to wear the coveted Governor’s Twenty tab on their uniform.

First-place finisher Major Ian Swisher pointed out that several first-time competitors made the top 20.

“Winning feels great, a validation of sorts, to the time and energy I’ve devoted to improving my marksmanship,” Swisher, an operations officer with the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, said in a release. “However, the real winners are the dozens of new shooters we welcomed to the firing line. Everyone, regardless of rank or experience, learns something about themselves or marksmanship every time they compete. That’s how we should be measuring value in competition; it’s the knowledge and experience we take back to our formations that counts.”

The Governor’s Twenty tab, worn on the left shoulder, is a state-level National Guard award that is presented every year and is reflected on a service members’ official personnel record. It is recognized by both the Army and Air Force.

Another top three finisher, Capt. Phillip Wright, competed in 2020 with low expectations, but ended up earning the tab.

“I went in more open minded to learn. I was ecstatic to earn the tab,” said Wright. “This year, I went in with the expectation to finish within the top three because I have been shooting competitively since 2020.”

In order to be competitive, guardsmen need to be proficient with rifles and pistols. Each competitor fires an M17 pistol and M4 carbine. The contest also included an M17 pistol 30 yard slow fire match and a M4 carbine 400 yard slow fire match.

The competition gives an opportunity to guardsmen to apply marksmanship fundamentals. That was one of the motivators for Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Costello, who also finished in the top three, but he also described his participation in the competition as “an honor.”

“I would love to see this match continue to grow,” Costello said. “I get to see friends that I don’t often get to see, I have an opportunity to pass knowledge on to new shooters and I always learn something new myself.”

Here are the Top 20 results, in order from 1st to 20th:

  • Maj. Ian Swisher
  • Capt. Philip Wright
  • Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Costello
  • Chief Master Sgt. Edward Altmeyer
  • Sgt. Dylan Albert
  • Staff Sgt. Luke Heim
  • Master Sgt. Shawn McCreary
  • Staff Sgt. Robert Robbins
  • Staff Sgt. John Rebuck
  • Staff Sgt. Zachary Paff
  • Sgt. Brennan Koji
  • Sgt. Croft Howley
  • Sgt. Jack Banducci
  • Sgt. James Reddington
  • 2nd Lt. Edward Hay
  • Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Brick
  • Sgt. 1st Class Sean Whaley
  • Sgt. Terry Bennett
  • Sgt. Craig Buick
  • Staff Sgt. Jonathan DeLise
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