The United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) was established 1 March 1956 at the direction of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to raise the standards of marksmanship throughout the U.S. Army. The USAMU is a battalion of the Marketing Engagement Brigade, a subordinate unit of the Army Marketing and Research Group.
Established in 1956 under the direction of President Eisenhower, the United States Army Marksmanship Unit’s primary mission was almost exclusively that of winning competitions. The Soviets were dominating the international shooting scene and it was recognized that only the US Army had the personnel and facilities to develop a competitive program which could compete with the Soviets well-organized shooting program. The USAMU quickly established itself as a world power in shooting,
leading the U.S. to six Olympic Gold Medals and 59 individual and team championships between 1962 and 1978 in international competition to go with hundreds of major service rifle and service pistol championships during that time.
In subsequent years the unit’s mission further expanded to those of enhancing Army recruiting, providing marksmanship training to thousands of Soldiers and being at the forefront in small-arms research and development to increase the Army’s overall combat readiness. From 2009-2012, the USAMU maintained a constant presence in Afghanistan by deploying multiple Marksmanship Training Teams in support of the Afghan National Army NATO training mission.
USAMU is composed of six competitive shooting sections utilizing world class facilities for both training and competition. The team’s primary mission is to WIN at all levels of competition. Facilities consist of 260 acres with 8 ranges and 18 buildings. Service Rifle, Action Shooting, International Rifle, Cross Functional Team Pistol, Shotgun and the Paralympic team comprise the shooting sections and are renowned as the "best in the world". In supporting the US Army with World Class Marksmanship Training the Instructor Training Group was formed to provide the Army with the best Marksmanship Training available, filling the void left behind when the Marksmanship Training Units (MTU) were disbanded.
This unit and our Soldiers have proudly represented our nation during every Summer Olympic Games that the United States has participated in since 1960, earning 24 Olympic medals. In 2012 the unit sent seven of its Soldiers to London to compete on the world’s grandest stage, including the first combat-injured active-duty Soldier to ever compete in a Paralympic Games. Support is provided to these Soldier-Athletes through the Custom Firearms Shop and the support branches of supply, operations and administration.
The unit makes or customizes its own small arms and much of its own ammunition through the Custom Firearms Shop. The Custom Firearms Shop, made up of gunsmiths, machinists, range technicians and ammunition loaders are the "backbone" of the unit and is equivalent to the “pit crew” of NASCAR. In fact, it was the first section formed when the unit was established. In order to compete successfully, it was determined better arms and ammunition were required. Here, gunsmiths build top-quality competitive-grade rifles and pistols for our competitive teams...many from the ground up. The custom Firearm Shop's research and development efforts have led not only to enhanced accuracy and reliability of our competitive weapon systems and ammunition, but have intensified the combat effectiveness of the entire Army.
It is here that the M-21 and M-24 Sniper Systems, Special Purpose Rifles and Squad Designated Marksman Rifles were developed and tested.
US Army Marksmanship Unit initiatives to obtain the highest degrees of precision and accuracy are the backbone of our efforts to showcase the Army in support of recruiting and accessions, and in raising Army combat readiness through marksmanship training while leading US Army small arms innovation.
The extraordinary combined efforts of the assigned Soldiers and Civilians of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit are why we have come to be known as "The Home of Champions".