Air Force takes gold in pistol competition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. J. Paul Croxon
  • Defense Media Activity - San Antonio
Staff Sgt. Marc Esposito, a combat controller from the 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., brought home gold May 13 in the pistol-shooting competition at the inaugural Warrior Games here moments after earning bronze in the 20-kilometer upright bike competition.

"It's exactly what we're trained to do as U.S. Air Force special operators," he said. "The battlefield is as dynamic as the sports field, and you're going to have to go from one extreme to the other. And, you have to do it quickly, and you have to do it flawlessly, without fault."

Sergeant Esposito is no stranger to shooting. His job as a combat controller often put him at risk in situations where he had to return fire on the enemy. He said he was able to use that experience to his benefit, despite the differences between shooting in combat and shooting competitively.

"It's different in the sense that there are no distractions," he said. "When you're shooting in combat and you're shooting here, you are going to the same spot in your mind."

Sergeant Esposito attributes his ability to transition from the cycling match to the calm of competitive shooting to his training and the special tactics mission.

"It's what's taught in the special tactics career field. You learn to calm yourself. You may have to run twenty miles and then do a swim for 50-meters underwater, but they expect you within a minute to get your heart rate down to a resting heart rate."

Though his calm was apparent in his performance, Sergeant Esposito had distinguished spectators cheering him on.

"Having him on the battlefield, I'm at ease. I'm at rest," said Chief Master Sgt. William Markham, also from 21st STS and Sergeant Esposito's chief. "I know he's going to take care of business. Having him compete here and represent the Air Force and special tactics, I have the same calm."

Former Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall earned the bronze in the rifle competition. She was the only female in the shooting finals.