Bowersox team shoots to 2nd in multinational competition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Richard Mekkri
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

From July 27 through July 30, military participants from around the world competed in the second-ever International Bavarian Military Competition in Graben, Germany. Over the course of three days, the competition pitted the best of the best against one another in small arms skills competitions.

Eight countries, consisting of thirty, three-man teams, participated in an event designed to forge multinational and intercultural contacts. The event also represents skills that can be measured on friendly terms in a competition at national and international levels.  Only six members from the entire Air Force Reserve Command were selected to attend. One of them was Tech. Sgt. David P.  Bowersox, Jr.

Bowersox, who is a 914th Security Forces Squadron firearms instructor, said that AFRC requested packet submissions in order to be considered as a participant in the event. Individuals had to be expert qualified in pistol and rifle and also had to submit a resume.

Once chosen, the six finalists had a daunting task ahead of them. In a short number of weeks, they were going to be entering a small arms competition, firing weapons that none of them had ever shot and which none of them had access.

“We trained in Utah for a week prior to going over,” said Bowersox, who in his civilian capacity is a police lieutenant with the Orchard Park Police Department. “We all kind of did our own research to see what weapons they’d be using.”

During that week the six finalists were split into two teams of three. The teams trained at Hill Air Force Base with weapons similar to what they’d be using in the competition.

It wasn’t until the first night in Germany that Bowersox and the others had access to the weapons they would be using during the competition: a P8 pistol, G27 rifle, G36 rifle, MG3 machine gun, MP7 sub machine gun and practice hand grenades.

“The first night reception all of the weapons were out on a static display,” said Bowersox. “That was your time to go there, pick up the weapon, dry fire it, ask questions. That was the practice. We got there that night, we got to see the weapons for about an hour maybe and the next morning we were shooting.”

The lack of hands-on experience didn’t seem to hinder Bowersox and the other Americans. The two teams fired their way to second and third place overall.

“To take second place overall, against 30 other teams from eight other countries,” said Master Sgt. Stephen D. Houseman, 914th Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Combat Arms. “That’s pretty amazing. Everyone is pretty excited for him.”

This is the second year that the event has taken place and the first year the participants from the United States have been involved. Plans have already begun for next year’s event with the hope that members from the U.S. Military will be invited back.

“Now that they know that there’s an opportunity like this” said Houseman, “they’re going to be taking they’re shooting a little more seriously.”

Bowersox has remained humble about his experience with his role in securing 2nd place overall at this year’s event. He is simply grateful that he was invited to be part of a multinational group of military members from across the globe.

“You kind of felt like an ambassador for U.S. Air Force,” said Bowersox. “I was honored to be selected as a participant in the entire event.”