Lamorte heads Guard’s state marksmanship team

— U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Joseph Liggio

Robert Lamorte II, a member of Joint Force Headquarters, in foreground, dashes downrange at Camp Ethan Allen, Vermont on Aug. 17, 2023, while participating in the Marksmanship Advisory Council Regional match Championship. Lamorte will head another state team competing in Arkansas in April.

GUILDERLAND — New York Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Robert Lamorte II, a Guilderland resident, will head a four-man team set to compete in the Army National Guard’s annual marksmanship competition in Arkansas, from April 29 to May 3.

“There is a lot of running and everything is done in full gear. You get to display your overall marksmanship skill as a soldier,” said Lamorte, a member of the Joint Force Headquarters operations section.

Lamorte was invited to compete three times before but was not able to attend. This year will be his first year competing and leading the group as the team captain.

The Winston P. Wilson Marksmanship Competition, known as the WPW for short, is named after the Chief of the National Guard Bureau who established the national shooting event in 1971, according to a release from the New York Army National Guard..

“It not only tests your marksmanship, it tests your physical ability and your soldiering skills and ability to prepare your gear properly," said Lamorte in the release.

The rifle and pistol ranges on which the soldiers qualify replicate combat situations, Lamorte went on; the competitors are forced to adapt to the changing distances, multiple positions, and different appearances of targets.

“It’s not just going out to the range being comfortable, sitting down and taking a nice calm shot.”

The other team members are: Staff Sgt. Adam Crist, a Buffalo resident, assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment; Sgt. Craig Rowell, an Alden resident, assigned to the 152nd Engineer Support Company, 204th Engineer Battalion; and Staff Sgt. Warren Solomon, a Lewiston resident, assigned to the C Troop, 2nd Squadron,101st Cavalry.

Lamorte headed a team that finished in second place in the eastern states marksmanship competition at Fort Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont in August 2023. Lamorte also competed in the Army Guard's best machine gun crew competition in July 2022.

"You are wearing your full combat gear, your Kevlar, your load bearing gear, your battle belt, your water, your ammo and magazines. You are also dealing with the weather, which can affect everything from your weapons to visibility and stability," Lamorte said.

“If we win the WPW,” he said, “we would be labeled as the best team in the country, and we could possibly be recruited to all guard team which competes internationally.

“When it comes to marksmanship community, everyone is cool with each other, everyone is looking to help,” Lamorte concluded. “You are competing against each other, but everyone is always willing to help, to share pointers. I have never met a greater group of soldiers than I have in these matches.”

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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