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Friday, March 29, 2024

2024 Norman J. Sieger Devil’s Brigade Memorial Championship Match

By Viesturs Lenss
FRGC Precision Pistol Match Director

On Saturday, March 16, 2024, the Farifax Rod and Gun Club (FRGC) held the 2024 Norman J. Sieger Devil’s Brigade Memorial Championship in honor of the memory of long-time Fairfax Rod and Gun Club member Norman J. Sieger, who passed away in 2022 at the age of 98 years. This match also honors the memory of the First Special Service Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade, of which Norm was a member during his service during World War II.

Norm Sieger and the Devil’s Brigade
Norman joined the Army at eighteen in 1942 and fought as a member of the famous joint USA and Canada First Special Service Force. Norman served in the Army with distinction for twenty-nine years, after which he settled in Northern Virginia. His service spanned three wars – WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. One of his favorite hobbies was pistol shooting, and he enjoyed many years being a part of the US Army pistol team. He was instrumental in the construction of the pistol range at the Club which is named in his honor. Norman served as the Club’s pistol match director for many years and was also a past president of the Club.

The First Special Service Force (FSSF) was formed in 1942 as a top-secret unit made up of US and Canadian soldiers. The FSSF spearheaded the Italian Campaign, taking on the impossible task of clearing the Nazis from the mountains of the Winter Line. They entered combat on December 3, 1943 with a strength of 1,800 men and completed their mission on January 17, 1944 with fewer than 500 men.

The Force’s success in clearing the mountain tops was crucial to the control of the main north/south highway to Rome. The FSSF was then moved to the Anzio beachhead, where it was assigned over 8 miles of the right flank with fewer than 1,100 men, facing a full division of 10,000 enemy soldiers. For 99 days the Force conducted continuous patrols and night raids into enemy territory at a cost of 106 killed or missing and over 300 wounded. During the Battle of Anzio, the Germans dubbed the First Special Service Force the "Devil's Brigade" because of their blackened faces and stealth in combat.

The Force was the tip of the spear on the drive to Rome and is credited with being the first Allied patrol to enter the city on June 4, 1944. Following the liberation of Rome, the Force was given the assignment of leading the landing invasion in southern France – fighting their way to the Franco-Italian border. In 251 days of combat, the Force suffered 2,314 casualties, 134% of combat strength, captured over 30,000 prisoners, won five US campaign stars, eight Canadian battle honors, and never failed a mission.

The First Special Service Force was arguably the most capable and deadly infantry organization in the Allied forces during WWII. The modern American and Canadian special operations forces trace their heritage to this unit. In 2013, the United States Congress passed a bill to award to the First Special Service Force the Congressional Gold Medal.

In cooperation with the Montana Military Museum and the First Special Service Force Association, this match offered a variety of Devil’s Brigade themed awards and prizes as pictured below.

Match Format
This match featured the Civilian marksmanship Program (CMP) 1400 Pistol Aggregate course of fire along with a Service Revolver Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) match. The CMP 1400 match combines individual matches fired using metallic sights with a 22 rimfire pistol along with a service pistol of a type suitable for use in a general duty scenario (i.e., military or law enforcement). The 22 Rimfire and Service Pistol EIC matches were included as part of the CMP 1400 Pistol Aggregate championship. For additional information on CMP pistol rules, refer to: 2024 CMP Pistol Rules

Match Winners
The weather for match day was picture perfect, so much so as to coax the cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. into peak bloom the very next day! As can be expected, with such ideal weather came some great scores.

Congratulations to Gregg Miller as the Open Champion winner with a score of 1265-23x!

As the Open Winner, Gregg received a challenge coin award along with a bottle of Willie’s Distillery Devils Brigade Whiskey. Being a Virginia resident, Gregg is also the 2024 Virginia State CMP 1400 Pistol Aggregate Champion and will receive a plaque from the Virginia Shooting Sports Association.

Other class winners include:
First Master: Ben Lassiter with a score of 1256-23x
First Expert: Richard Martinez with a score of 1194-17x
First Sharpshooter: John Dowell with a score of 1190-12x

First Marksman: Theodore Weber with a score of 885-5x
Match winners (left to right) Rich Martinez, Ben Lassiter, Gregg Miller, John Dowell, and Ted Weber

The Open Winner and all Class Winners names and scores will be engraved on the new Norman J. Sieger Devil’s Brigade Memorial Championship plaque. This is the inaugural year for the plaque, and subsequent championship winners will also have their names engraved on the plaque in future years.

Excellence-in-Competiton (EIC) Matches
For the CMP Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) events, leg points were awarded in each category. Match winners are as follows:

22 Rimfire EIC
Overall Winner: Gregg Miller with a score of 277 - 3x
Highest Non-Distinguished: Ben Lassiter with a score of 274 - 5x (6 leg points)*

Service Pistol EIC
Overall Winner: Gregg Miller with a score of 273 - 6x

Highest Non-Distinguished: Rob Croxson with a score of 252 - 3x (6 leg points)*

Service Revolver EIC
Overall Winner: Ben Lassiter with a score of 349 - 4x
Highest Non-Distinguished: Ben Lassiter with a score of 349 - 4x (6 leg points)*
*Leg points awards are pending CMP approval of the EIC match.

Bounties were earned by being the first shooter to achieve a minimum qualifying score (depending upon classification) on any slow fire target. Bounty awards were US Mint issued bronze coins that were replicas of the Gold Medal awarded to the unit. Winners of the class bounties are as follows:

Master: Don Dixon
Expert: Rich Martinez
Sharpshooter: John Dowell
Marksman: David Jensen

Prize Drawing
Congratulations also to the winners of the prize drawing for the following items:
• The Supercommandos: First Special Service Force, 1942-1944 An Illustrated History hardcover book
• Willie’s Distillery Devils Brigade Whiskey bottle (750ml)
• Böker Plus V-42 Replica Dagger

A special thanks to the volunteers for this match, including John Hollingshead (CRO), Carrol Kisser (LO) and Dave Jordan (LO, Range Setup). Without them, matches such as these would not be possible. THANK YOU!!!

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