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Intel NCO named best AF pistol shooter

Staff Sgt. Terrence Sears, NCO in charge of the Air Force National Pistol Team, was the winner of the General Curtis LeMay Trophy, given to the top Air Force shooter at the National Pistol Championships in July 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Terrence Sears, NCO in charge of the Air Force National Pistol Team, was the winner of the General Curtis LeMay Trophy, given to the top Air Force shooter at the National Pistol Championships in July 2014. (Courtesy photo)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) -- The NCO in charge for intelligence for the 705 Combat Training Squadron at Kirtland AFB has become the No. 1 pistol shooter in the Air Force.

Staff Sgt. Terrence Sears, NCO in charge of the Air Force National Pistol Team, took top honors among Air Force shooters at the National Pistol Championships in July, winning the General Curtis LeMay Trophy.  Sears notched a new personal best score, finishing 30th among 487 shooters overall. He was ninth overall among 377 shooters using the 1911-style handgun.

"I am a competitive person by nature," he said. "I hate losing at solitaire. It's the competition aspect of pistol shooting that keeps me training and shooting and wanting to continually improve."

Sears preceded his national showing with an excellent performance at the annual Inter-Service competition at Fort Benning, Ga., sponsored by the Army Marksmanship Unit. The event pits the Army's full-time shooting team against military teams from all other branches of the military. Sears grabbed honors as the top Air Force performer.

Sears' interest in shooting started as a young boy while growing up in Graham, Texas. His granddad, dad, and other relatives would constantly throw down shooting challenges to see who was the best.

"It was competitive 'see who can shoot a shotgun shell off a fence post' type challenges," he said. "I've always liked that kind of accuracy-based shooting."

In 2012, while stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, he learned there was an Air Force pistol team and he expressed an interest. Sears attended a clinic sponsored by the then- NCOIC of the team and received an invite to a training camp tryout at Fort Benning. He did so well, he was one of the top six shooters and made the primary team.

The pistol team is one of four Air Force-level shooting teams sponsored by Air Force Services. Although they receive a small budget, most of the costs incurred to attend competitions are borne by the team members. As NCOIC of the team, Sears is responsible for stretching the team's limited budget as far as it will go. He's become a thrifty shopper and was appointed the team's official griller, he said.

"I guess I can run a barbecue real well," he said.

Although he is proud of his individual accomplishments, Sears is also proud of the way his team performed. The Air Force team finished in 10th place among 88 teams at the national competition. He said he'd love to see the team be even more competitive, especially at the Inter-Service competition, where the Army team has dominated in recent years.

"We've gotten immensely better the last few seasons, but we need to continue to improve," he said. "My main focus is to get the Air Force team on the podium next season. I also predict, within the next five seasons, we'll be making the Army team sweat."

Sears said he was in the Air Force for eight years before he even knew there was a team. He'd like to see the team have more visibility, so they can draw in younger, talented Airmen.

"We're always looking to recruit new, dedicated shooters," he said. "It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well."