The First Shot Speaker ceremoniously fires the first shot downrange—officially marking the beginning of the National Matches. Pictured is last year’s speaker, Ohio Congressman Robert Latta. This year, CMP Board member Oscar Mahlon Love will have the honor.
Come see the historic grounds of Camp Perry on Monday, July 11, as the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), in conjunction with the National Rifle Association and the Adjutant General’s Department of Ohio hosts the 2016 First Shot Ceremony. The ceremony serves as the official opening of the revered National Matches, which have been fired at Camp Perry since 1907. The past and present will fuse together when authentic WWII presentations, veterans, current military personnel and notable CMP guests flow through the celebration. The ceremony kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
The fanfare begins with the 122nd Army Band—delighting guests with musical medleys before, during and after the ceremony. Traditional military songs will echo over the grounds of Camp Perry, including a salute to the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
A flyover by the Liberty Aviation Museum’s WWII Navy TBM Avenger and B-25 bomber, Georgie’s Gal, along with the Yankee Air Museum’s Yankee Lady B-17 bomber, will transcend the excitement above the crowd as they pass directly over the grandstands at Shooters’ Memorial Plaza—located by the flag pole on Rodriguez Range.
As each plane soars by, a resonating salute will be fired by a War of 1812 period cannon, a Civil War era cannon, a modern era 37mm anti-aircraft gun and Camp Perry’s own 70mm cannon. The aircrafts will then emerge once again as the smoke from the artillery clears—looping over the lake and returning from the north to make two more passes over the grandstands.
Vintage military vehicles (provided by the Firelands Military Vehicle Group) will also be on display during the ceremony, with some remaining near the ceremony site at the conclusion to give visitors an even closer look at the moving pieces of history.
Colors will be presented by the 555th Honors Detachment of Wooster, OH. This year’s flag bearer will be Lloyd Boyer, 90, who was an artilleryman in General George Patton’s Third Army in WWII. Mr. Boyer was a special guest at last year’s First Shot and is accompanied this year by his brother, Elton, who is a member of the 555th.
The distinguished First Shot Speaker will be CMP Board Member, Oscar Mahlon Love. Among his many accolades, he is a retired executive vice president and director of the largest bank in New Mexico as well as a former Commissioner of the New Mexico State Police (and a graduate of their academy). A Civilian Aide Senior to the Secretary of the Army, Mr. Love has assisted on many governmental and private boards, and he is also very involved with youth-oriented activities.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mr. Love will have the honor of firing the first official shot of the National Matches down Rodriguez Range—which always promises to be a booming start to the competitive season.
Mrs. Judy Legerski, CMP Chairman of the Board, will serve as emcee of the event. Mrs. Legerski is an original appointee to the CMP Board of Directors and has been active on the Board since 1996. She has held elective office, served the Secretary of Defense as a member of the Defense Advisory Committee for Women in the Military and is a Civilian Aide Emeritus to the Secretary of the Army.
No dress code is required, but all ceremonial activities will take place outdoors, so please dress appropriately for weather. Spectator seating has moved from its usual location to Shooters’ Memorial Plaza due to the raising of the 200-, 300- and 600-yard firing lines on Rodriguez Range. Bleachers will be set up directly west and east of the plaza, with additional bleachers placed diagonally on Lawrence Road.
Roads will be blocked to keep traffic away in the area immediately surrounding the Shooters’ Plaza. Those attending the event will need to drive east around Building 3 to get to Lawrence Road East and west around Commercial Row to get to Lawrence Road West. Traffic will be rerouted so that ample parking will be available around Camp Perry.