WINSLOW — For Sgt. Max Nickerson, the second try was on target.
Nickerson, who turns 23 next month and will enter his sixth year in the Maine Army National Guard in April, recently completed his second attempt at the U.S. Army Small Arms Championships, a live-fire competition for members of the military. Nickerson competed for the first time last year and placed 18th overall.
This year, the Winslow man fared better: He was the overall individual winner, making him the Army’s top marksman in the competition.
“I’m still dreaming at the moment,” Nickerson, who works as a pre-loader for United Parcel Service, said in an interview Monday.
The competition, which was held in Fort Benning, Georgia, from March 12 to 18, puts teams of four military personnel together. These teams compete on local and regional levels in order to win funding to partake in the competition. Nickerson’s team won the New England regional competition and earned their chance to compete in Fort Benning for a second year in a row. By winning a regional competition, they were funded by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center based in Maryland.
There are multiple matches at the event, ranging from pistol events and rifle events to an infantry team match. The event, which involved nearly 200 competitors, is sponsored by the U.S Army Marksmanship Unit.
The event is open to active members of the Army, Army Reserves, Army National Guard or Air National Guard, Military Academy, college Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets and individuals in the Officer Candidate School. Civilians and personnel from other military services are prohibited from participating, according to the website for the event.
Nickerson’s mother and stepfather, Christina and Lee Vanadestine, say Nickerson has always been interested in the military and in marksmanship. The two said Nickerson, who went to Temple Academy in Waterville, is also interested in politics and history.