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Pa. Guardsmen compete in Governor’s Twenty marksmanship competition

Competitors in the 2021 Governor’s Twenty competition participate in the pistol event July 24 at Fort Indiantown Gap. Eighty-three Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen competed with rifles and pistols in multiple courses of fire to determine the Commonwealth’s best marksmen during the Governor’s Twenty match July 23-24. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Zane Craig)

Competitors in the 2021 Governor’s Twenty competition participate in the pistol event July 24 at Fort Indiantown Gap. Eighty-three Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen competed with rifles and pistols in multiple courses of fire to determine the Commonwealth’s best marksmen during the Governor’s Twenty match July 23-24. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Zane Craig)

The top three winners of the 2021 Governor’s Twenty competition celebrate their achievement July 24 at Fort Indiantown Gap. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Yackovich (center), with the 171st Security Forces Squadron, 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard of Harrison City, Pa.; Chief Master Sgt. Edwards Altmeyer (left), with the 171st SFS of Coraopolis, Pa.; and Staff Sgt. Douglas Costello (right), with the 213th Personnel Company, 213th Regional Support Group, Pennsylvania Army National Guard of Mountain Top, Pa., placed first, second and third. Eighty-three Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen competed with rifles and pistols in multiple courses of fire to determine the Commonwealth’s best marksmen during the Governor’s Twenty match July 23-24. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Vail Forbeck)

The top three winners of the 2021 Governor’s Twenty competition celebrate their achievement July 24 at Fort Indiantown Gap. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Yackovich (center), with the 171st Security Forces Squadron, 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard of Harrison City, Pa.; Chief Master Sgt. Edwards Altmeyer (left), with the 171st SFS of Coraopolis, Pa.; and Staff Sgt. Douglas Costello (right), with the 213th Personnel Company, 213th Regional Support Group, Pennsylvania Army National Guard of Mountain Top, Pa., placed first, second and third. Eighty-three Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen competed with rifles and pistols in multiple courses of fire to determine the Commonwealth’s best marksmen during the Governor’s Twenty match July 23-24. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Vail Forbeck)

Sgt. William A. Varee, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, kneels to fire his pistol at the Governor’s Twenty Match July 24 at Fort Indiantown Gap. The annual competition awards the Governor’s Twenty Tab to the twenty highest-scoring rifle and pistol competitors from across the state of Pennsylvania. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Leanne Demboski)

Sgt. William A. Varee, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, kneels to fire his pistol at the Governor’s Twenty Match July 24 at Fort Indiantown Gap. The annual competition awards the Governor’s Twenty Tab to the twenty highest-scoring rifle and pistol competitors from across the state of Pennsylvania. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Leanne Demboski)

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – Eighty-three Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen competed with rifles and pistols in multiple courses of fire to determine the Commonwealth’s best marksmen during the Governor’s Twenty match here July 23-24.

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 have the opportunity to test 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.

Many Soldiers and Airmen compete and earn top scores year after year, like this year’s top finisher, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Yackovich, of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 171st Air Refueling Wing. However, Yackovich stressed the need for new competitors to enter.

“I think the best thing we can do is to keep getting newer Soldiers and newer Airmen involved in this program and stress to them that you don’t have to win every time but learn something every time,” said Yackovich, who is a member of the 171st Security Forces Squadron. “Keep coming back, keep learning, and take this experience and back to your units.”

The Army and Air Force both recognize the state award and it is reflected on the service members’ official personnel record. The top 20 scorers were awarded the coveted Governor’s Twenty tab and a certificate to identify them as being outstanding marksmen.

Even those who don’t finish in the top 20 say they enjoy the competition and gain valuable marksmanship skills.

“I did so much better than I expected to do,” said Sgt. Keaton J. Schott, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard. “The goal is always to win, but the secondary goal is to improve yourself, so whatever you did last time you want to beat this time, and that’s the mentality I came in with.”

The competition was conducted by the Pa. National Guard’s Individual Training Branch's Marksmanship Training Unit.

The 2021 Governor's Twenty recipients:

1. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Yackovich, Harrison City (Westmoreland County)
2. Chief Master Sgt. Edwards Altmeyer, Coraopolis (Allegheny County)
3. Staff Sgt. Douglas Costello, Mountain Top (Luzerne County)
4. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Richard Jones, Lebanon (Lebanon County)
5. Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Fusco, Sellersville (Bucks County)
6. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andrew Harrison, Palmyra (Lebanon County)
7. Staff Sgt. Harold Little, Wampum (Lawrence County)
8. Staff Sgt. Robert Lydic, Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
9. Sgt. Corey Walker, Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
10. Sgt. 1st Class Scott Sheroky, Fredericksburg (Lebanon County)
11. Sgt. Ryan Ilich, Greensburg (Westmoreland County)
12. Sgt. Jason Goodling, York Haven (York County)
13. Maj. Ian Swisher, Rockville (Maryland)
14. Sgt. Adam Grove, York (York County)
15. Spc. Jun Jin Lin, Lebanon (Lebanon County)
16. Sgt. Brennen Koji, Bellefonte (Centre County)
17. Master Sgt. Gregory Neiderhiser, Ligonier (Westmoreland County)
18. Cpl. Christopher Hill, Tafton (Pike County)
19. Tech. Sgt. Shawn McCreary, Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
20. Staff Sgt. Paul Young, Shrewsbury (York County)

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