Competitive Shooting

Disabled USAMU Soldier Wins Gold in First Match

US army uniform patch flag. US Army

The newest member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) scored gold this week at the Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships. Sergeant Kisha Makerney is a disabled Iraq war veteran who lost a leg in a tragic motorcycle accident just days after returning from deployment.

After many surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, Kisha relearned how to walk and run with her prosthesis and eventually rejoined her unit. She returned to Iraq, this time as an instructor. She completed her second tour and then joined up with the USAMU upon her return, where she quickly earned a reputation as a sharpshooter.

From the press report…

Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit competed in its first competition of 2011 at the Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Leading the way was Paralympic shooter Sgt. Kisha Makerney. Competing in her first match as a member of the USAMU, Makerney won the gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle Prone-Mixed event with an overall score of 1301.4. She shot a personal best of 598 out of 600 on Day One, only to do one better on day two with a 599.

This was the first match for the newly-developed USAMU Paralympic team. Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson finished third in the 10m Air Rifle Prone-Mixed and second in the 50m Rifle Prone-Mixed. Sgt. Robert Price took fifth in the 10m Air Rifle Prone-Mixed match, his first competitive shooting match ever on this stage. Price, along with Makerney, came to the unit in late November.

The field had representatives from seven countries with four Olympic Medals, more than 25 World Cup wins and numerous world records among the shooting athletes making a bid for championship titles.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker brought two silver medals back home to Fort Benning with him. Parker, a three-time Olympian, scored a perfect 1200 in the Men’s Prone Rifle match before being edged out by fellow Olympian Matt Emmons in the final. USAMU teammate Sgt. 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft earned a third-place finish in the match, finishing one point behind Parker. Parker also garnered a second-place finish in the 3×40 match with a score of 2449.

The USAMU team of Uptagrafft, Staff Sgt. Michael McPhail and 1st Lt. Christopher Abalo won first place in the Men’s Prone Rifle team match.

The championship is held every year in February and provides a unique opportunity for athletes from all over the world to compete in a high-level competition during the winter months. Additionally, it exposes Junior and Development Team athletes to international-style conditions at an earlier age.

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