In 1993, the Department of Military Instruction (DMI) took
ownership of the USMA Pistol Team when it became a competitive club. Duties of
the Pistol team included the mission to train cadets to shoot M-9 pistols
during the military intersession. From 1993 – 1996, the pistol team trained
about 600 cadets to fire the M-9 over each military intersession.
In 1996, two cadets who were interested in becoming more proficient with the
M-9 began to shoot on a weekly basis with LTC(R) Dustin Saunders (AOG member
since 1992 and Pistol Team OIC from August of 1993 – present). By 1997 they
sparked interest in a few other cadets, and with the influence and help of
LTC(R) Saunders, created a new club: the Combat Pistol Team. Due to LTC(R)
Saunders responsibilities with the Pistol Team, the Combat Pistol Team found an
OIC from DMI. MSG (R) Jose Gordon, then
the senior enlisted advisor of DMI, took on the role of team coach and mentor.
His initial guidance allowed the team to begin to develop members of the team
into proficient marksman. With the help of additional coaches such as Joe Suek,
Craig Jackson and Gary Salman, the team was able to refine the combat skills
introduced by MSG Gordon, and begin to shoot in local pistol and rifle matches.
The ability to compete against professional shooters was a great way to test
the individual combat skills of the Cadets.
Over the next few years the team received support from
numerous officers and non commissioned officers from the Academy. Due to the
constant turnover of both cadets and faculty the team unfortunately did not
compete as much as it did in years prior and began to focus on collective
tasks vs. mastering the individual tasks required to be a proficient shooter and mentor.
The cadets of the CWT would like to sincerely thank all of those, past and
present, who have contributed to our continued evolution and success in
mastering the most crucial skills of the present day warrior.
In 2013 the team went through a major reorganization that included
an in-depth review of its outcomes and desired end state. The importance of
competition to validate the individual combat skills needed of Soldiers along with
being able to mentor and coach others became the renewed focus of the team. The Combat Weapons Team now focuses heavily on
leader development through marksmanship to include formalizing their
competition schedule in local and national level matches along with supporting
the Corps Of Cadets with marksmanship mentors . The team officially is a member
of the Scholastic Pistol Program, competes in the All Army Small Arms Marksmanship
competition and the Joint Service Academy Combat Weapons Competition, along
with local USPSA, IDPA and Steel Challenge matches.