RAPID CITY, S.D. --
A simple invitation from a family member turned into great accomplishments and a strong passion for one Airman of the 114th Fighter Wing.
Staff Sgt. Adam Witte, 114th Maintenance Squadron electronic countermeasures technician, enlisted in the South Dakota Air National Guard in August 2006. His uncle, Master Sgt. (Ret.) Mike Witte, 114th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron metals technician, had been a part of the unit’s marksmanship team and invited his nephew to join. In 2007, Witte competed in his first marksmanship competition and hasn’t stopped since.
“I started shooting the state matches in 2007,” said Witte. “I’ve been all in and trying to develop our unit’s marksmanship program ever since.”
In 2012 Witte received his first invitation to compete in the Marksmanship Advisory Council Region 6 Match at Camp Guernsey, Wyo., as well as the Winston P. Wilson National Combat Match at Camp Robinson, Ark.
Witte has been to the national competition six times, and this year he will add a new competition to his list as he competes in the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Postal Matches at Camp Robinson, Ark. Staff Sgt. Trevor Dietrich, 114th Maintenance Group metals technology machinist, will be competing with Witte in the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Postal Matches.
Gearing up for this new competition, Witte competed in The State Command Sergeant Major’s Outdoor Match May 18, 2018 at Camp Rapid, S.D., along with six other members of the 114th Fighter Wing marksmanship team. Although he’s already earned the Governor’s Twenty Tab, given to competitors in the top 20 percent of this competition, he’s always looking to do his best.
“I already have the Governor’s Twenty Tab, but I’d still like to receive it again in both rifle and pistol,” said Witte. “I would also like to see some of our members from the Wing earn their tab for the first time.”
Another accomplishment he would like to achieve is becoming “Double Distinguished.” A marksman earns points for Excellence in Competition, and once they earn 30 points they earn either the Distinguished Rifleman Badge or the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge. Achieving those 30 points twice is what makes a shooter “Double Distinguished.” Since the National Guard’s marksmanship program began, only about 4,500 marksmen have earned “Double Distinguished,” and only eight of those have been from the state of S.D.
“The goal of any marksman is to become double distinguished,” said Witte.
With more than seven awards and top finishes under his belt, Witte says he constantly needs to keep up with practice.
“Marksmanship is a perishable skill,” he said. “It’s not something you can just go out and do extremely well with. It takes a lot of practice and trigger time to stay competitive.”
Yet as challenging as marksmanship competitions are, he also finds them rewarding.
“You can step up and go toe-to-toe with the best marksmen in not only our state or region, but also our nation and hold your own,” said Witte. “It lets you walk away with a sense of accomplishment knowing that you can keep up with the best while representing our state and our unit.”