This past July at Camp Perry, Sgt. Ben Cleland of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) won the Oliver Hazard Perry Match for the second consecutive year. Finishing the event with a perfect score of 300-21X, he improved by 1 point and 10 Xs over his score last year.
Earlier at Camp Perry, Sgt. Cleland also won the Pershing Trophy as the highest scoring competitor of the National Trophy Team Match, firing an awe-inspiring score of 499-30X. You can see him receiving his 2018 Pershing Trophy plaque in the photo at the top of this article. And, Cleland finished in third place at the 2018 NRA High Power Nationals at Camp Atterbury.
“Coming into the National Matches, I really wanted to win everything, but, it’s a rough crowd,” Sgt. Cleland said.
He added that one of his biggest goals was to outshoot teammate Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Green, who had a remarkable showing this year—becoming the first competitor to ever fire a perfect score in the coveted President’s Rifle Match.
Outside of the friendly rivalry, Cleland commends Green for the lessons he has passed down to him, saying, “I would consider him my biggest mentor. He’s definitely the person that inspired me to be the best I could be.”
Coming in a close second behind Cleland in the Oliver Hazard Perry Match and also firing an outstanding score was David Geyer, who also cleaned each stage for an overall score of 300-14X. Rounding out the top three shooters was Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Friend of the U.S. Army Reserve, who finished third with a score of 299-12X.
The Oliver Hazard Perry Match is part of the Commemorative rifle events designed for the National Matches. The competition is for service rifles, fired at 200, 300 and 600 yards.
In 2019, CMP will replace the Oliver Hazard Perry Match with squadded practice.