U.S. Airmen compete in the Excellence in Competition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Robert Allen Cooke III
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Airmen participated in the Beretta M9 Excellence in Competition, or EIC, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on Jan. 26, 2024.

The Excellence in Competition consisted of three individually scored relays that were held at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. respectively.

Before the competition commenced, each relay’s competitors participated in a safety briefing that included information on weapons’ safety and range safety. The safety briefing, hosted by combat arms instructors from the 355th Security Forces Squadron, provided a rundown of the course, including: what the time limits were, how the targets were scored, and how certificates would be distributed.

“We’re just here to make sure that the firing line runs safely,” said Tech Sgt. Christopher Uremovich, 355th Security Forces Squadron section chief of combat arms and coordinator for the Excellence in Competition. “We make sure that we’re not having any safety violations and everybody’s paying attention to the course of fire and doing everything that they are supposed to do.”



During each relay of the competition, the instructors ensured that the participants’ Beretta M9 muzzles were level pointed down range to prevent unwarranted fire. However, the competitors did not receive coaching from combat arms during the EIC. The competitors knew how to clear out and reload their weapons prior to the competition.


“When anyone is out here on our firing line, we have to make sure that our muzzle is always level and pointed down range, because we never know when that firearm could go off,” said Staff Sgt. Vanessa Garcia, 355th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor and a line official for the Excellence in Competition. “If that muzzle is level and pointed down range, we know that it’s not going to be hurting anybody.”

Additional setup for the competition required coordination with the 355th Munitions Squadron on Davis-Monthan.

“We have to coordinate with MUNS to grab ammo, the weapons, and ensure that all weapons are operational,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Horne, 355th Security Forces Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of combat arms and tower operator for the Excellence in Competition. “We have to do maintenance on guns and the targets as well.”

As tower operator of the EIC, Horne was responsible for safety on the line, Horne told the shooters when to fire and when to cease fire during each relay. Horne worked along other coordinators and instructors of the 355th SFS, such as Uremovich, to set up the event and establish safety procedures for the competitors.

“I am coordinating everything today,” Uremovich said. “We have twenty-eight shooters each relay, which means per our instructor student ratios on the line, we must have at least four instructors on the line and one in the tower. Right now, we have a total of six instructors.”

Prior to each relay, the instructors preloaded M9 magazines, stapled the targets, and created rosters. During the relays, the instructors ensured that the line ran safely, that safety violations were avoided, and that everyone paid attention to the course of fire.

“There’s a lot of preparation that does not get seen by the average eye,” said Senior Airman Adam Weigum, 355th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor and a coordinator for the Excellence in Competition. “We really do work as hard as we can, not only for our shooters to have a safe, enjoyable time out here on the range, but also to prepare them for what they may encounter later on down the road in their Air Force career.”

At the end of the EIC, seven winners were selected to receive a certificate and a “Bronze Pistol Shot” badge to wear on their uniforms.