KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - UH-60 Black Hawk Crew Chiefs and door gunners of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade competed in the first 25th CAB Top Gun Competition on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 28.
The purpose of the competition was to bring the best door gunners representing each task force together in a friendly head-to-head competition to determine the 25th CAB's "Top Gun."
"The soldiers were chosen from each task force based on their demonstrated performance and proficiency as door gunners," said Staff Sgt. Dennis Frazee, 25th CAB standardization noncommissioned officer, originally from Gainesville, Ga. "This was a perfect time to recognize the soldiers after a year of direct fire engagements and test fires."
Twelve soldiers were chosen by their leadership out of 150 eligible door gunners and crew chiefs. Each soldier was given two 100 round belts for the competition engaged makeshift targets. The door gunners shot at the targets from a UH-60 Black Hawk as it made two passes to simulate receiving small arms fire while flying to and landing at an objective.
"It was really great to be a part of this competition," said Spc. Timothy Edwards, a UH-60 Crew Chief assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Lightning Horse, 25th CAB, originally from Richland, Va. "After long hours, performing missions and conducting maintenance, it was a big morale boost."
The idea for the competition came from events conducted by Task Force Diamond Head in previous years to build Esprit de Corps and increase the proficiency of the door gunners. This year the competition was opened to all door gunners across the Brigade.
Edwards was named the winner of the Top Gun Competition by putting seven rounds in the torso, one in the head and setting off a smoke grenade with one burst.
"Everything I learned was from Staff Sgt. Frazee and Sgt. Hardwick when they were trainers," said Edwards. "From here, I want to go from crew chief to trainer and then to company standardization trainer. I want to pass on my knowledge to others."