Two local members of the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry participate in National Guard marksmanship meet in Arkansas Aug. 28 through Sept. 2, 2021

Two Syracuse National Guard soldiers will be competing in the National Guard’s national marksmanship competition in Arkansas from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2.

Capt. Patrick Cassidy and Sgt. 1st Class Alex Rotondi are members of Charlie Troop of the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, which drills at Buffalo’s Masten Avenue Armory. The 2nd Squadron, 1010st Cavalry has elements in Niagara Falls, Geneva and Jamestown, as well.

Cassidy is the commander of Charlie Troop, while Rotondi is a platoon sergeant.

The other two members of the team are Staff Sgt. Matthew Schaef, a Buffalo resident who serves as the Charlie Troop reconnaissance team leader; and Staff Sgt. Michael Wheeler, a Williamsville resident, who is the Charlie Troop training sergeant and also leads the sniper section.

Formally known as the Winston P. Wilson Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting, the event tests the abilities of teams from the National Guard, other U.S. military branches, and foreign militaries.

The competition gets its name from a former head of the National Guard who encouraged marksmanship development.

The Soldiers will be firing the standard M-4 military rifle, the standard issue M-9 Berretta pistol, and the M-500 or M-1800 tactical shotgun during the competition, according to Staff Sgt. Michael Wheeler.

The competition involves shooting on a range and in a tactical environment in which they fire and move as if they were on a battlefield. The Soldiers must also conduct a transition shoot in which they go from firing the M-4 rifle to engaging targets with the M-9 pistol.

The Soldiers were picked for the team based on their military marksmanship skills and their experience, Wheeler said, adding that he and Rotondi have competed at the national level before.

By martha

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