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National Guard breaks seven NRA national records

The National Guard All Guard team poses for a picture after being named the overall four-man team aggregate champions for the MidRange 4-Man Team Match at the end of the Orange Blossom Regional Marksmanship Chamiopnships in Palm Bay, FL March 2020. Pictured second from the right is the new NRA National Championship Mid-Range Aggregate Course- service category record holder, Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, who also broke 6 other national records during this event. Pictured left to right: Chief Warrant Officer 3 Denver Gillham, Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Master Sgt. Michael Hester, Arkansas National Guard; Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut National Guard; and Master Sgt. Scott Tolley, West Virginia Army National Guard. (U.S. Army National Guard courtesy photo Master Sgt. Michael Hester//Released)
April 09, 2020

This report originally published at dvidshub.net (DVIDS) and is reprinted in accordance with DVIDS guidelines and copyright guidance.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A cannon fires and then the sound of the national anthem is heard by the All Guard team, surrounded by a full range of competitors, as the day begins at the 2020 Orange Blossom Regional (OBR) Marksmanship Championships, hosted by the Port Malabar Rifle & Pistol Club in Palm Bay, Florida March 16-22, 2020. Little did those in attendance know, this would be where seven new national records would be set.

U.S. National Guard All Guard team member, Staff Sgt. John Coggshall from the Connecticut Army National Guard set these new National Rifle Association records during the MidRange Regional Championships, one of three championships that make up the OBR.

“The Orange Blossom Regional match is our shooting season opening match,” said Maj. S. Kirk Freeman, National Guard Marksmanship Training Center chief of competitions. “So, to see such high scores being fired during our first competition after many months shows the dedication and continued training our All Guard team members put in year-round.”

“I don’t go hunting for records, so to speak,” said Coggshall, “but when I step on to the firing line as my relay is called up, I am thinking about my plan on how to shoot the best I can under the current conditions. Sometimes it goes well; rarely a record is broken.”

Not only were records set, but surprisingly some were broken more than once during this seven-day event.

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All Guard member Master Sgt. Scott Tolley from the West Virginia Army National Guard, during the 300-yard slow fire prone rifle match, was the first to break an NRA record with a score of 200-20x+2x in the service category, beating out Coggshall’s previous record of 200-18x set in 2018. Coggshall came behind him, two days later, in this match and beat out the new score Tolley set by two additional +X’s, setting the new NRA national service record as 200-20x+4x for the high-power rifle, 20 shots, 300-yard, slow fire prone.

The +X’s, Coggshall explained, “is because once you shoot a perfect score of 200-20x [200 points and 20 bulls-eyes] you are allowed to keep shooting until you miss an X, which will establish the record score.”

During the very next rifle match, 20 shots, 500-yard, slow fire- any sight, Coggshall broke two national records scoring 200-19x. He exceeded the open record by -1x that was previously 200-18x and simultaneously, exceeded the service record 200-17x that was set by himself last year.

A national record being broken twice at the same event is unusual, let alone the same individual setting two records in a row.

“It’s unbelievable that two were set, one after another,” said Coggshall.

Coggshall went on to set four more national records during this event, including the National Championship Mid-Range Aggregate Course service record, which was previously set in 2019 by Staff Sgt. Amanda Elsenboss from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, who had a score of 2397-166x.

A single individual setting seven records at one competition is quite astonishing and surprisingly, the individual, modestly, has not had much of a thought about it.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” said Coggshall, stopping to think about what happened during the OBR.

“When you have a bad shot you block it out and keep shooting and it’s the same for good shots,” he said trying to explain why he hasn’t thought much about it. “It’s unbelievable when you stop and think about it. Great shooting,” he said fairly stunned. “You don’t foresee that [breaking national records] ever happening, and then it did.”

“Staff Sgt. John Coggshall’s performance during the four-day, 2400 aggregate, firing an astonishing 2398-189x, setting a National Rifle Association national record for a service member not only shows the skill of the individual marksman,” said Freeman, “but showcases our own Master Sgt. Michael Hester’s ability to design and build a record setting rifle.”

Master Sgt. Michael Hester is the NGMTC small arms machinist and a member of the All Guard team.

“I love building guns,” said Hester, “but building winning guns is the best.”

Winning teams have the best tools, and with that they must have the best machinist.
“Master Sgt. Hester is, in my opinion, the backbone of the team,” said Coggshall. “With his machine and tool making knowledge, he can make, create and alter anything.”

“It’s a synergistic formula though,” said Hester. “The guns have to be accurate enough to hit the X-ring, but the guns don’t do anything on their own. The shooters have to hold them steady enough to hit the bull’s-eye. You have to have both pieces working together with good ammo to win.”

“Shooting record scores not only takes many years of training but it also requires a highly accurate, precise and reliable firearm,” said Coggshall.

Hester has been working on weapons for approximately 20 years and has been a member of the All Guard team for about 10 years. He, also, worked as a sniper instructor for several years.

“What sets him apart is his competition shooting experience combined with his machine working background,” said Freeman. He knows that just because something looks cool, does not mean that it shoots well.”

He continued, “Staff Sgt. John Coggshall’s record setting score of a 2398-189x has never been bested by anyone in the U.S. Military and that feat was performed on the first competition the rifle was ever fired in. The National Guard has the world’s best marksmen and Master Sgt. Hester knows the best marksmen need the best equipment.”

Hester finished saying, “It does feel good to know what you gave to the team helped them win.”

~~2020 Orange Blossom Regional Championship All Guard accomplishments~~
MidRange 2400 Aggregate Individual (Match 13)
1st – Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard score 2398-189x (New service rifle national record)
4th – Master Sgt. Michael Hester, Arkansas Army National Guard score 2395-150x

MidRange 4-Man Team Match
1st – Team All Guard – Coggshall
(Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard; Master Sgt. Scott Tolley, West Virginia Army National Guard; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Denver Gillham, Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Master Sgt. Michael Hester, Arkansas Army National Guard)

MidRange 2-Man Team Match
1st – Team All Guard – Coggshall/Tolley
(Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard & Master Sgt. Scott Tolley, West Virginia Army National Guard)

Excellence in Competition Match
1st Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard
2nd Maj. Samuel Freeman, Arkansas Army National Guard

Across the Course 2400 Aggregate Individual- Service Rifle
1st Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard – score 2377-137x
3rd Maj. Samuel Freeman, Arkansas Army National Guard – score 2373-95x
4th Spc. Josh Hanrahan, Wisconsin Army National Guard – score 2365-94x

Across the Course 4-Man Team Match
1st – Team All Guard – Grimm
(Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard; Lt. Col. Aaron Grimm, Kentucky Army National Guard; Maj. Samuel Freeman, Arkansas Army National Guard; Spc. Josh Hanrahan, Wisconsin Army National Guard)

Across the Course 2-Man Team Match
1st – Team All Guard – Grimm/Freeman
(Lt. Col. Aaron Grimm, Kentucky Army National Guard & Maj. Samuel Freeman, Arkansas Army National Guard)
2nd – Team All Guard – Coggshall/Hanrahan
(Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard & Spc. Josh Hanrahan, Wisconsin Army National Guard)
4th – Team Tolley Gillham
(Chief Warrant Officer 3 Denver Gillham, Pennsylvania Army National Guard & Master Sgt. Scott Tolley, West Virginia Army National Guard)

Across the Course One & Done 4-Man Team Match
1st – Team All Guard – Grimm
(Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard; Lt. Col. Aaron Grimm, Kentucky Army National Guard; Maj. Samuel Freeman, Arkansas Army National Guard; Spc. Josh Hanrahan, Wisconsin Army National Guard)

Sheriff’s Twenty
1st – Spc. Josh Hanrahan, Wisconsin Army National Guard
3rd – Staff Sgt. John Coggshall, Connecticut Army National Guard
The National Guard took six places in the Sheriff’s Twenty.

New NRA National High-Power Rifle Records:
1) 20 shots, 300-yard, slow fire prone, service- Coggshall score 200-20x+4x
2) 20 shots, 500-yard, slow fire, any sight, open- Coggshall score 200-19x
3) 20 shots, 500-yard, slow fire, any sight, service- Coggshall score 200-19x
4) 20 shots, 600-yard, slow fire, any sight, service- Coggshall score 200-19x
5) Mid-Range Prone Course – Any Sights 60 Shot 3×600, open- Coggshall score 600-50x
6) Mid-Range Prone Course – Any Sights 60 Shot 3×600, service- Coggshall score 600-50x
7) National Championship Mid-Range aggregate course- service- Coggshall score 2398-189x

 

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