Marines

Photo Information

Cpl. Alvin H. Mei, an electro-optical ordnance repairman with Headquarters and Services Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, receives a gold medal during the 2016 Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Matches Award Ceremony on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 22, 2016. The Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Matches Award Ceremony marks the end of the annual Marine Corps Competition-in-Arms program. The Competition-in-Arms program has provided Marines around the world with the opportunity to achieve various medals and trophies by displaying their skill in small arms marksmanship. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kimberly Aguirre/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Kimberly Aguirre

Reserve Marine wins gold in Corps’ top shooting competition

2 May 2016 | Cpl. Ian Ferro Marine Corps Forces Reserves

A Marine with 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, won a gold medal during the 2016 Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Championship match aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 22, 2016.

Cpl. Alvin H. Mei, an electro-optical ordnance repairman with Headquarters and Service Company, 2/23, earned the top prize in the pistol category of the annual Competition-in-Arms Championship program, April 5 – 22, 2016.

Since 1901, the Competition-in-Arms program has provided Marines around the world with the opportunity to display their skill, experience and expertise in small arms marksmanship. The competition is composed of four main division matches: Far East Division, Pacific Division, Western Division and Eastern Division. Marines who distinguish themselves in these matches go on to compete in the championship program.

Mei recently won a gold medal during the Western Division pistol competition Feb. 22 to March 4, 2016, and was one of two Reserve Marines to advance from that division.

“It was a humbling experience, there were a lot of good shooters here,” Mei said.

Rifle and pistol competition medals are awarded to the top 10 percent of the non-distinguished shooters. Similar to annual rifle and pistol qualifications, Marines have an opportunity to earn distinguished shooter badges for their performance in these competitions. The medals earned represent credit points towards distinguished badges. Gold medals are worth 10 points, silver are worth eight and bronze are worth six. A shooter becomes distinguished upon receiving a total of 30 points.

During the pistol competition, Marines start at the 50-yard line and fire 10 rounds in 10 minutes from the standing position. For the next stage, they remain standing and move to the 25-yard line for the timed fire stage. The final stage is the 25-yard line rapid fire where competitors fire two strings of five rounds in a time limit of 10 seconds from the standing position.

Despite the difficult courses of fire and the tough competition, there are plenty of opportunities to learn through the challenge of competing.

“It doesn’t matter how good of a shot you are, there is always more to be learned and there will always be someone who knows something that you don’t,” said Mei. “The only way to get extremely good at shooting is through competition.”

As a civilian, Mei works at an indoor range in a gun store. He is an experienced shooter and competitor but had never competed as a Marine before the Western Division matches. Mei plans to continue competing and representing MARFORRES as he pursues his shooting career.

I am going to continue sharpening my skills on the range,” he said. “Hopefully I will be able to come back next year, achieve another gold medal and become a distinguished shooter.”