3-Star General William Ingram takes ceremonial First Shot to open NRA Championships
Port Clinton, Ohio - Only a select few are invited to fire First Shot for the NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships in Camp Perry. Governors, personalities and high ranking members of America's Armed Services are among those who've been called. Men like 3-Star General William E. Ingram.
"I’m privileged to be in the presences of these great shooters."
A product of North Carolina, General Ingram received his third star when stationed in Washington, DC last November. As it was stated in his introduction, the General was there to serve as the Special Assistant to the Army's Vice-Chief of Staff. But his shooting career started way before that.
"I was taught to shoot by my grandfather when I was about six or seven years old," General Ingram told the crowd. "We had an old, single shot .22 bolt action rifle that I think was his grandfather’s. I learned how to shoot and about firearm safety at a very young age. "
"The competitors here are the best of the best. You inspire others back in your homes to learn more about marksmanship, you inspire each other to compete better here, and you inspire people who’ve been avid shooters for a lifetime like me. That’s what the national matches are all about. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having the opportunity to be here."
Taking the First Shot at the NRA Championships in Camp Perry
The First Shot ceremony starts with introductions, moves to speeches and concludes with the shot. Firing at a target a few hundred yards down range, it's actually quite the challenge. For some, it might even be a little nerve racking. But not for a man who has commanded American, United Nations and NATO Forces. Nonetheless, the significance of the moment was not lost upon General Ingram.
"I can’t imagine how many shots I’ve fired in my life, going back through my childhood, my Army career and recreational shooting. But I can tell you that no shot was more important then the one that’s coming up in a few minutes.
"The competitors here are the best of the best. You inspire others back in your homes to learn more about marksmanship, you inspire each other to compete better here, and you inspire people who’ve been avid shooters for a lifetime like me. That’s what the national matches are all about. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having the opportunity to be here. "
Recognizing the contribution that the National Rifle Association and Civilian Marksmanship Program has made to the shooting sports over the years, the General continued his speech with tales of duty, honor and country. The significance of America's tradition of gun ownership and the part in plays in every day life. One he captured with a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt.
"He said that the shots that hit are the shots that count."
With that, he donned the shooting jacket, took his M1 Garand in hand and fired. In a split second, the target was scattered in smoke and debris. It was an on the money, perfect, first shot.