AFRC shooting team shines on global stage

  • Published
  • By Nicholas Janeway
  • 926th Wing

The Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) is known for providing combat-ready individuals to support the Air Force in performing its national security mission.

But AFRC is also becoming known for assembling some very successful shooting teams that have competed in global competitions over the past two years.

Most recently, the team of Reserve Citizen Airmen travelled to the Netherlands to compete in the 2018 Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Shooting Competition against 29 teams from Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

The team consists of two traditional reservists, Tech. Sgt. Jessica Rayl from the 926th Security Forces Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and Staff Sgt. Brendan Richmond from the 919th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida, as well as two Active Guard Reserve (AGR) members, Tech. Sgt. Gregory Myers from the 452nd Security Forces Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, California, and Staff Sgt. Sabrina Yeghiazarian from the 926th Security Forces Squadron.

Once officials calculated all scores, the AFRC team emerged in second place in the pistol marksmanship competition, only a few shots behind the winner, Switzerland.

The competition consisted of timed shooting events featuring weapon systems commonly used by European teams, but unfamiliar to the AFRC group.

Senior Master Sgt. Aaron Doss, Combat Arms Functional Manager for AFRC at Robins AFB, Georgia, says that’s a positive.

“We benefit from our teams training in high-stress environments such as firing weapons they've never used before,” Doss said. “It increases their weapons portfolio and allows them to get familiar with weapons that NATO teams often use.”

Doss said the team focused heavily on pistol marksmanship during training and it was evident with the second-place finish.

This is the fourth time the AFRC team has participated in a global shooting competition since 2017.

Previous AFRC teams placed second and third at competitions in Germany and second place in Denmark.

AFRC’s strong showing in those events earned them an invitation to this one as well as future competitions in other countries.

Doss said these competitions help build foreign partnerships but also serve as quality training.

“These competitions help us increase lethality. This is real-world training,” Doss said.

While this is all four shooters’ first competition, they are hardly rookies in the firearms community.

Both Myers and Yeghiazarian are combat arms instructors. Rayl is a Nevada State Trooper, and Richmond is a former sheriff’s deputy in Florida and currently serves as a combat instructor for the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron.

Rayl and Yeghiazarian are also the first females to compete on an AFRC shooting team.

“When I made the team, I felt a sense of pride. Not just for myself, but for all women who compete in a male-dominated field and feel looked down upon because of it,” Yeghiazarian said. “I’m glad Tech. Sgt. Rayl and I got to be the first females on the team and I hope we are not the last.”

“I hope we set the precedence for future competitions.”

Myers was the team captain and was charged with preparing a team he’d only recently met.

“We didn’t know each other before training,” Myers said. “We didn’t know how each person shoots or how they react under pressure.”

The team trained together for only one week before the competition.

“We did a lot of shooting drills to find everyone’s weakness,” Myers said. “After that, we trained to get stronger in those areas.”

Doss said his future plans include creating a mobile combat arms training team to teach an advanced weapons course to security forces personnel across the command.

While details of any future competitions are unclear at this time, it is clear that the AFRC shooting team is making quite an impression on a global stage.