Arizona Army National Guard show off their gun skills in Florence during Annual Weapons Weekend

FLORENCE, AZ - For soldiers in the Arizona Army National Guard, the ability to shoot with precision is a skill they take pride in.

"Marksmanship is a big morale boost," said Command Sgt. Major John Paul Salazar. "When you shoot well, at the unit level, the entire unit is on like cloud nine."

Annual Weapons Weekend brings together the best marksmen in the Guard to the Florence Training Site for a two-day competition. The event, which takes place this weekend, allows soldiers to test out their skills using machine guns, rifles, and pistols.

The top eight performers will represent the state at the Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Piston Championships later this year in Arkansas. Those who move on are called the "Governor's Dozen."

"There are a lot of really good shooters out (in Arkansas), world class shooters out there; guys that have been doing it for a really long time," said Salazar.

The Arizona Army National Guard has been hosting the shooting competition for the past 13 years.

"There's a lot of good shooters here," said Chief Warrant 2 Christopher Marcott. "It's one of these things, there's a good group of folks here. It's kind of any given day."

At the end of the day, they want all of the soldiers to do well.

"If I don't do well, but I'm able to help one of the team shoot better, that is to me doing my job and is a success for me," Salazar said.


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