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Staff Sgt. Dustan Taylor, a Liberty native, is stationed at Fort Benning.

Shooting for the USA

Lt. Col. Michelle Lunato

Special to Randolph Hub


ASHEBORO — Three U.S. Army soldiers on the US Skeet Team helped secure three of the four medals earned by Americans at the Federation Francaise De Tir Grand Prix in Chateauroux, France, on April 14-16.


The three Fort Benning soldiers, all marksmanship instructors/competitive shooters with the US Army Marksmanship Unit’s Shotgun Team, competed in the cold, gusty and rainy Grand Prix along with civilian athletes as part of USA Shooting’s Skeet Team.


The US team was part of 130 total competitors at the event, which is the same ranges that will be used in the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.


In the individual Men’s Skeet Category, Staff Sgt. Dustan Taylor, a Liberty native, earned a position in the Final after completing four out of five perfect rounds of 25, giving him a total qualification score of 124. This Fort Benning soldier was the only competitor out of 71 to shoot two perfect rounds on the second day of qualification. 


Taylor’s USA Shooting teammate (who is also a veteran of the USAMU), Vincent Hancock, completed his qualification rounds with a score of 121, and also moved into the final.


The two Americans then competed against each other and Emmanuel Petit from France in the Final. After Petit won the Bronze, Taylor and Hancock continued the final, both earning 37 points, making a shoot-off necessary to determine the Gold and Silver medals. 


Taylor was the first to miss after three shots and was therefore the Silver Medalist behind Hancock.


In the Men’s Skeet Team Category, Hancock and Taylor joined up with Staff Sgt. Christian Elliott to make the team that beat out France and China to the Gold Medal with a score of 359. France and China completed the podium with scores of 354 and 346, respectively. 


In the Women’s Skeet Team Category, the U.S. Women’s Skeet Team claimed the Gold with a score of 337. China and France completed the podium with team scores of 335 and 334, respectively. The U.S. Women’s Skeet Team included Kim Rhode, Dania Vizzi and Spc. Samantha Simonton. 


The United States will be represented by more USA Shooting athletes, which includes more Soldiers from the USAMU, in the Olympic Trap events in the coming days.