While sitting on the couch watching television or doing school work, a staff sergeant leaves an unloaded pistol sitting on his desk. He doesn’t have it there for protection, but for whenever he is in need of a mental break.
There is a target taped to the wall on the far side of the room to test his trigger, pull and sight alignment; however, shooting an unloaded gun while having a little bit of free time isn’t what earns someone the President’s Hundred tab. It is the skilled trigger finger of one of the six Air Force service members to ever receive this award for their hard work and dedication.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Wilson, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMS) Strike Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet avionics technician, earned the President’s Hundred tab after shooting a perfect score at the 2018 National Trophy Pistol Matches and Small Arms Firing School at Camp Perry, Ohio.
“Words cannot describe the feeling,” said Wilson. “I feel humbled when people ask me about it because I also love teaching the support of precision pistol shooting, and just seeing the tab gets all Airmen interested in shooting. I currently am training two younger Airmen to hopefully earn the tab one day.”
The 57th Wing honored Wilson’s accomplishment in a ceremony, at which Brig. Gen. Robert G. Novotny, 57th WG commander, said it was pretty amazing to see somebody accomplish this rare feat, especially for someone who picked up a gun for the first time in Basic Military Training.
Wilson said he had never shot firearms until he started precision pistol shooting in February 2016 after learning about the President’s Hundred tab. The coaching that Wilson received in the last two years helped him achieve his goal.
“Col. Hugh Ragland is the current U.S. Air Force National Pistol Team officer in charge and has been a key factor to my progression,” said Wilson. “He is a very strict coach, but is always willing to answer questions and help those who wish to learn.”
Ragland helped Wilson outperform hundreds of competitors with his tough but encouraging training. The two practiced multiple times a week, and put in countless hours and thousands of rounds at the range.
“During the 2018 National Trophy Pistol Matches, Wilson represented the Air Force and earned a Bronze Excellence in Competition badge by placing in the top 10 percent of all competitors firing in two different matches,” said Col. Hugh Ragland, 365th Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Group commander. “He then went on to place in the top 100 scoring shooters in the President’s Pistol Match, earning him the President’s Hundred tab.”
There are only four other Airmen on active-duty that wear it. Wilson is now the fifth President’s Hundred shooter, said Ragland.
“He out-shot 375 other competitors to earn it and, suffice to say, I’m very proud of him,” said Ragland.
Wilson is not going to call it quits; he is going to further his shooting skills and representation as a marksman.
“The President’s Hundred tab was one of my many goals I have in regards to shooting,” said Wilson. “I currently have 12 excellence-in-competition points, but need a total of 30 to become a distinguished pistol shot.”
Since the competition earlier in the summer, Wilson continues to shoot four to six times a week. He starts every practice session with dry firing for five to twenty minutes, or until he feels comfortable with his grip, stance, trigger finger placement and sight alignment.
“After I become a distinguished pistol shot, I plan to start shooting the rifle to earn distinguished rifleman,” said Wilson. “My long-term goal is to become a distinguished international shooter.”