As a non-profit, AFSA exists to benefit its members. AFSA promotes clay target shooting for Active Duty, Retired, and Veteran members of the Armed Forces, opening up opportunities for success specifically in the world of skeet shooting.
AFSA sponsors the Armed Services Skeet Championships (ASSC) annually in May. This annual shoot provides the opportunity for members of the Armed Forces from across the nation to come together for competition and camaraderie. The annual shoot is hosted at various gun clubs around the nation according to a bid process where interested clubs and offer to host the event.
Prior to 2002, the ASSC were named the Armed Forces Skeet Championships (AFSC). In 2002 the shoot was renamed to the Armed Services Skeet Championships and in 2010 the emblem was redesigned.
Our shoot emblem shown to the left is composed of the following:
The eagle symbolizing strength and tenacity
A shotgun, the tool of our sport
A clay pigeon, our shooting target
Five stars at the top, reflecting the five services of our members (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard).
The Beginnings of AFSA
Compiled by: Mike Brazzell, the AFSA Historian, with assistance from Cotton Talbot and other shooters.
Military skeet shooting began during the Second World War when skeet was used to teach the aerial gunnery principles. Numerous flight training stations and bases had skeet fields utilized throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars, with many still used today.
In 1958, at the NSSA Championships in Waterford, Michigan, NSSA military participation rules were created by a committee comprised of members of various armed services.
In 1959, for the first time, military events were included at the NSSA Championships held at the Princess Anne Gun Club, Lynnhaven, Virginia. We believe that is the current site or nearby to the Oceana NAS ranges. Before the Championships, the first World Wide Military Invitational Championships were held, boasting 200 all bore targets (12 gauge). The event attracted service teams that would then remain and boost attendance at the NSSA Championships. The first ever High Over All (HOA) Champion was future AFSA and NSSA Hall of Fame member Master Sergeant (USAF) Hal Myers, who shot a perfect 200x200.
In 1960, the second World Wide Military Championships was again held at the Princess Anne Gun Club in Virginia the week before the NSSA Championships. US Navy Captain R.L. Livingston won HOA with a score of 199/200.
In 1961, the Air Defense Command took charge of the shoot and moved the event to Colorado, with General Curtis LeMay, USAF, coming up with the idea to have military shoots. The shoots were developed and created by Colonel John P. Breckenridge, USAF. The USAF Air Defense Command hosted the first official Armed Forces Skeet Championships at the Ent Rod and Gun Club on Peterson Field in Colorado Springs, CO. This event consisted of five-man competitions between Air Force commands and bases as well as an inter-service five-man team even open to teams from various services. All five-man team events were 12 gauge only, with open individual competitions in all four gauges (12, 20, 28, .410 bore) and the HOA event.
In 1961, the first Armed Forces Skeet Championships consisted of 350 targets was a 350 target event attracting a total of 257 entries. This was the second largest NSSA skeet shoot of the year, with the Canadian Open in Montreal attracting 324 shooters a month earlier. The shoot was held at Peterson Field annually until the formation of AFSA in 1975.
In 1962, the shoot transitioned to the 500 target format used today.
Until 1973, the Armed Forces Skeet Championship five-man team event was held in the 12 gauge only.
In 1973, the active service Navy Team donated a traveling 20-gauge five-man team trophy and contacted other service teams to request they donate trophies for the other gauges and the HOA event. As a result, for the first time, the 1973 shoot included a five-man team event for each gauge and the HOA event.
Shotguns had been awarded for gun championships for several years prior and with donations from civilian and military supporters, in 1973, shotguns were also awarded to each HOA class winner and the retired military champion.
In 1974, Navy Team Captain, Commander Cotton Talbott, approached Lt. General Kenneth E. Pletcher, USAF to propose the formation of the Armed Forces Skeet Association to ensure continued military shooting competitions even if Special Services at Peterson Field could not host the championships in the future. The concern stemmed from the possible decline in the number of skeet ranges at Peterson Field due to golf course expansion, which would result in insufficient facilities for the capacity of shooters. Throughout the year, discussions ensued about feasibility of the proposed association, shoot administration, financial capabilities, and organizational structure
In 1975, Lt. General Pletcher requested that Commander Talbott make a proposal during a shooters' meeting at the Peterson Field club. After short discussion, Lt General Pletcher endorsed a motion to form the Armed Forces Skeet Association and the first officers were elected:
President of AFSA - Lt. General Pletcher, USAF
Vice President - Colonel Chub Madden, USMC
Secretary / Treasurer - Commander Cotton Talbott, USN
Subsequent to the vote, the 1976 shoot was moved to the National Gun Club in San Antonio, Texas. The Secretary / Treasurer guaranteed an $8000 loan to provide funding for the Association's first shoot, which attracted 132 shooters and realized a net profit of $6500, ensuring continued AFSA operations.
In 1976, a committee headed by the Vice President drafted the constitution and bylaws with input from Judge Advocate General Lt. Colonel Winn Thurman, USMC. Both were approved at the 1976 shoot and Commander Talbott filed to classify AFSA as a non-profit association, which the State of Louisiana granted later that year.
Over the next several years, the shoot moved from Texas to Colorado, and then moved into a three zone rotation between the East, Central, and West areas of the country.
In 1978, based on a request from Rod and Guns Europe, a five man "World Military” event was added to the shoot program to accommodate clubs that could not field teams from only one branch of service. After approval, an Open five-man team event was established.
In 1981, a Doubles event was added to the shoot program. Commander Jack Bishop, USN, with a 96x100 was our first doubles champion at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, TX.
In 1983, after months of negotiations with the IRS, our Secretary/Treasurer, Lt. Colonel Ed Hughes, USAF, obtained a 501C (19) non-profit, military, designation for the association.
In 1990, the AFSA Hall of Fame was established and inducted six (6) members:
Lt.General Kenneth E. Pletcher , USAF (Ret), the only living inductee
Lt. Colonel Winn Thurman, USMC (Ret)
Major W.K Griswold, USMC (Ret)
Major Ken Gilbert, USA (Ret)
Captain George Albert Young, USMC (Ret)
Chief Petty Officer Allen Buntrock, USN (Ret)
In 1991, the General Pletcher Award was established to HonorLt. General Pletcher and those that contributed to the association on a long and continuing basis. Lt. Colonel Ed Hughes, USAF (Ret), was the first recipient of the award.
In 2002, after a request from the Armed Forces Sports Council, the name of the shoot was changed to the Armed Services Skeet Championship. The name of the Armed Forces Skeet Association remains unchanged.