JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
An Airman and advertiser for U.S. Space Force, assigned to Air Force Recruiting Service at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, hit his target during the 2022 Southwest Nationals near Phoenix, Feb. 15, 2022. He actually did it multiple times, from 1,000 yards, with a rifle in competition against hundreds of other marksmen.
“It was a challenging event,” said Staff Sgt. Cameron Keating, advertising noncommissioned officer for Space Force in AFRS’s marketing directorate. He has been a member of the Air Force Rifle Team, which is part of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program, for 10 years.
Keating was determined to make the most out of the competition in Arizona.
“When Staff Sgt. Keating puts his mind to a task you can rest assured that it will be accomplished with excellence,” said Capt. Timothy Applegate, chief of Space Force marketing branch for AFRS.
Keating said he got lucky when he managed to register for the competition which was limited to 360 shooters. Exclusivity didn’t stop there. Competitive categories included small-bore, service rifle, Palma Rifle, Any/Iron, and Any/Any with targets set at 600 and 1,000 yards.
“These events have restrictions on sights and ammunition depending on the category entered,” Keating said. “In competitive shooting there are many different weapons we can shoot depending on the event rules and what division we want to enter.”
Keating’s weapon was a .308-caliber Palma Rifle which is fired from a prone position without the use of a scope and only steadied by the shooter’s two hands and shoulder.
“Think of it like golf clubs and each rifle has an event it is specific for but you can use the same rifle in multiple events,” Keating said.
As for how he faired in the competition, there was some good news.
“I did manage to win the final stage at 1,000 yards in the Any/Any category,” Keating said. High winds in the desert affected the ultimate outcome and Keating lost by a narrow margin during a tie breaker.
“Given his day-to-day activities in the office, there’s no question why he performed so well during this competition,” Applegate said.
Regardless of the score, Keating found a way to make the competition, 1,000 miles from his AFRS office, helpful for the recruiting mission.
“I took the local recruiting team out to see the event and assisted them by making connections with the venue,” Keating said.
For more information about Space Force visit: www.spaceforce.com and to learn more about the Air Force World Class Athlete Program visit: https://myairforcelife.com/sports-world-class-athletes/