Army Marksmanship Unit Makes International Mark

Army Marksmanship Unit Makes International Mark

Staff Sgt. Rachel Tozier (middle) high fives her USA Shooting coach Jay Waldron at the 2023 International Shooting Sports Federation World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 14 - Sept. 1. Tozier and 2020 Olympian Derrick Mein won the Silver Medal in the Mixed Trap Team event. Tozier is a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter, with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit who hails from Pattonsburg, Missouri. (USA Shooting photograph by Brittany Nelson)
Photo by: USA Shooting/Brittany Nelson

With the Paris Olympics less than a year away, soldiers from the Army Marksmanship Unit’s shotgun team dominated on the global stage at the 2023 International Shooting Sports Federation World Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“Competing at World Championships is invaluable when it comes to preparing for Olympic team selection,” Sgt. Rachel Tozier, a member of the U.S. Trap Team, said in an Army news release. “Being able to shoot among, and against, the best competitors in the world forces you to up your game and brings out any flaws that may need work.”

Soldiers from the unit based at Fort Moore, Georgia, formerly known as Fort Benning, competed against shotgun athletes from 31 other nations. They set a world record and won four medals for the U.S. at the international competition in trap and skeet events.

The U.S. women’s skeet team won the gold medal and set a new world record in the team event after edging out the Italian team by breaking 365 of 375 targets. 

During the mixed trap team event, Tozier earned a silver medal alongside her civilian teammate, 2020 Olympian Derrick Mein. “Winning the silver medal for Trap Mixed Team helped me feel more prepared for Olympic Trials by allowing me more experience in serious competition and shooting under pressure,” Tozier said. 

Staff Sgt. Will Hinton and Staff Sgt. Derek Haldeman, who are both members of the marksmanship unit, and Mein won the gold medal in the men’s trap team event, beating out Italy and the Czech Republic. 

The world championships offered the marksmanship unit’s soldiers the chance to refine their skills and compete against the best shotgun athletes in the world, Hinton said. “Competing at the World Championships offers a huge amount of experience and the ability to compete against the best in the world,” he said. “When you win, place or beat the world’s best, it can have a huge impact on your shooting game.”

Staff Sgt. Christian Elliott, Staff Sgt. Dustan Taylor and Vincent Hancock, a marksmanship unit alum and an Olympic gold medalist, also won gold in the men’s skeet team event.

Competing and winning at the international level is especially rewarding, Hinton said. “Anytime you secure a gold medal, individual or team, it builds armor to your game,” Hinton said. “You have to execute your shooting skills to the best of your ability, and winning gold in Men’s Team Trap was a great reward personally. I love seeing the U.S.A. on the podium.”