September 9th, 2015

USA Veterans Team Wins Gold at World Championships

USA U.S. Palma Veterans Team Fullbore Camp Perry Gold Medal 2015

Report by Tom Whitaker, Captain of USA Veterans Team
Much has been said about the fantastic performance of the Great Britain Palma Rifle Team setting a new World Record for the Palma Team course of fire, as well as the strong second place showing of our USA Palma squad. However, little to nothing has been published about the only team World Championship that the United States won at the World Championships this year at Camp Perry.

Before all the pomp and circumstance of the World Individual Championship and the Palma Team Match got underway, a dedicated group of shooters made their way to the firing line. These were the members of the 2015 USA Veterans Rifle Team. To qualify for this team one of the requirements is to have reached your 60th birthday by the first day of the World Championships. This usually means you’ve “been there and done that” for many years and still love the sport. The team consists of a maximum of 17 people, a captain, adjutant, three coaches, 10 firing members, and two reserve members. Each team has two targets so the firing members are separated into two squads of five, each with a line coach. The third coach or main coach coordinates the two squads to optimize their performance. The course of fire is two convertible sighting shots and 10 shots for score per shooter at 300, 600, 900, and 1000 yards on the ICFRA 5V Targets.

When I was child my family raced horses. My father was once asked “how do you win a horse race?” His answer was “Break out of the starting gate in first place and keep improving your position.” That is exactly what the USA Veterans Team did, as the Americans won the 300-yard stage and each stage thereafter to beat the British Team by 12 points 1919-152V (USA) to 1907-172V (GB). Canada was third with 1896-131V, Australia fourth with 1878-140V. Of special note, Wayne Forshee (maker of the famous “Rightsight”) was high score on the entire line with 196-24V!

Message from Tom Whitaker:
As Captain I would like to congratulate my team again. No captain could be more proud of a team than I am of these “oldies”. They worked very hard to accomplish their quest for the Gold, a feat that hasn’t been done since 1999. Team members are:

Captain: Tom Whitaker; Adjutant: Leo Cebula; Coaches: Steve Hardin, Jim O’Connell, Gary Rasmussen; Shooters: David Crandall, Peter Church, Gerard DeCosta, Wayne Forshee, Charles Kemp, Randall Gregory, Marty Mayo, Noma Mayo, Steve McGee, Bob Steketee; Reserves: Michel Dunia, J.P. Young.

In the World Individual Championships there were three U.S. shooters who qualified for the final “top ten” shoot-off at 1000 yards, they, too, were all Veterans. I have heard it said that old eyes can’t be counted on to get the job done, but it looks like old age and treachery won out over youth and enthusiasm this time. Many thanks to all who supported our team. We could not have done this without your help, especially Sierra Bullets, Lapua, and The Bald Eagles Rifle Club.

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