Two represent base on AF pistol team

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Veronica McMahon
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Two members of the nine-member United States Air Force National Pistol Team, known as the best pistol shooters in the Air Force, reside here at Tyndall Air Force Base.

Capt. William Hope, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group Special Devices flight commander, and Tech. Sgt. Paul Noblit, 53rd WEG Special Devices flight section chief, hold developmental member spots on the elite shooting team.

Sergeant Noblit, who made the team in April, said he was introduced to shooting as a young teen.

"I learned to shoot with an air pistol and pretty much shot everything but the target," he said with a chuckle. "It was something I found I had to focus discipline and concentration, the more I applied discipline and concentration, the better I did. Overall, what I enjoy the most is the reward you get from the challenge."

Captain Hope, who has been with the team for a year, agreed that it's the challenge that draws him to the sport.

"I had a rifle all through high school, but pistol looked like a new challenge." He said. "What I like is the mental aspect of shooting the game. You get into this zone where you are not even thinking about it, just getting all the shots. The challenge is to repeatedly get to that point."

To be on the team takes a lot of hard work and time dedicated to developing shooting skills, said the two shooters.

They practice shooting three to five times during the week while home and periodically participate in team training sessions at locations throughout the U.S.

The most recent team session was a week-long camp in late April at the 12th Precinct Pistol Club in Harwood, Md.

The training week, the first for Sergeant Noblit, consisted of 14 to 16 hour days. Sergeant Noblit and Captain Hope said the training was extremely intense and very demanding. By the end of the week, both said they were very tired and drained of energy.
"This was not recreational shooting," said Sergeant Noblit, emphasizing the intensity of the training.

Captain Hope said that many people don't realize how much it takes to focus a pistol and shoot for hours on end.

The rigorous training program prepares Sergeant Noblit and Captain Hope for the numerous individual competitions they participate in including local, state and regional, as well as the two major annual competitions the team participates in - interservice and nationals. Interservice is a competition between different branches of the military. Nationals include pistol teams across the U.S.

Captain Hope and Sergeant Noblit plan to join the team at the Interservice Championship match June 6-14 at Fort Benning, Ga. Members who attend this match will be evaluated to see who the team will take to the Nationals in July.

"I am looking forward to seeing how I've grown as a shooter, and learning from the group of professional competitors at the competition," said Sergeant Noblit.