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Swamp Fox defender achieves honors in WPW National Guard marksmanship competition

Senior Airman Marcus Heyward, retired U.S. Army MSgt Edward Earle and Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron, instructs fellow South Carolina Air National Guard members during M4 Carbine training at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C May 21, 2014. Weapons qualification is an essential component of Airmen readiness and safety at home and abroad.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek/Released)

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C May 21, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron of the South Carolina National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., competes in the annual Winston P. Wilson Championships pistol category at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock, Ark., May 9, 2014.  (Courtesy photo by NGB-PA/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron of the South Carolina National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., competes in the annual Winston P. Wilson Championships pistol category at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock, Ark., May 9, 2014. (Courtesy photo by NGB-PA/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron of the South Carolina National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., competes in the annual Winston P. Wilson Championships pistol category at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock, Ark., May 9, 2014.  (Courtesy photo by NGB-PA/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron of the South Carolina National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., competes in the annual Winston P. Wilson Championships pistol category at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock, Ark., May 9, 2014. (Courtesy photo by NGB-PA/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron, instructs fellow South Carolina Air National Guard members during annual weapons qualification training at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C May 20, 2014. Weapons qualification is an essential component of Airmen readiness and safety at home and abroad.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron, instructs fellow South Carolina Air National Guard members during annual weapons qualification training at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C May 20, 2014. Weapons qualification is an essential component of Airmen readiness and safety at home and abroad. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek/Released)

Senior Airman Marcus Heyward, retired U.S. Army MSgt Edward Earle and Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron, instructs fellow South Carolina Air National Guard members during M4 Carbine training at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C May 21, 2014. Weapons qualification is an essential component of Airmen readiness and safety at home and abroad.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron, instructs fellow South Carolina Air National Guard members during annual weapons qualification training at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C May 20, 2014. Weapons qualification is an essential component of Airmen readiness and safety at home and abroad. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenvyn Lewis, assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron here, received the Chief's 50 Marksmanship badge, among other team and individual awards, at the Winston P. Wilson National Guard Championships, May 9, 2014.

The National Guard Marksmanship Training Center reported the annual event wielded marksmen from 45 states and territories, competing in 17 matches throughout the five-day competition at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

The competition attracted 531 Army and Air National Guardsmen and international competitors. They competed in individual and team combat rifle and pistol events for top honors in the National Guard.

"All of the defenders here at McEntire are all very proud of Staff Sgt. Lewis," said Lt. Col. Paul Laymon, commander of the 169th SFS. "His marksmanship ability sets the standard."

The Chief's 50 Marksmanship badge is awarded to the 50 highest-scoring competitors for placing in the top 10 percent of point accumulation in the competition.

Lewis' numerous awards from the competition included the Stuart R. Clingman trophy, 1st place Novice Pistol Champion and the Air Force Bronze excellence medal with wreath.

A combination of skills acquired by his U.S. Army Vietnam veteran parents, the Boy Scouts and ROTC, instilled in Lewis a passion for weapons and the military at a very young age. He continued crafting his trade at Georgia Military College High School, where he honed his early marksman skills shooting a .22 caliber small-bore rifle. Before joining the South Carolina Air National Guard, Lewis first enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, later transferred to the U.S. Army and then became a member of civilian law enforcement. Each of these assignments helped him to perfect his trade through real-world experience.

"I've learned what works through trial and error and personal experience," said Lewis. "Today, I try to pass on to my students the things that I have learned that work beyond theory and textbook, and instead, teach the application of things that have helped me succeed."

Today, Lewis instructs numerous weapons skills courses and certifications at McEntire as one of the unit's Combat Arms Training and Maintenance noncommissioned officers.

"Lewis, like all of our CATM instructors, is eager to share his weapons handling skills with all members of the Swampfox team," said Laymon. "Anyone who has sat in on one of his classes is in for a memorable experience."

The WPW Championship was the first time that Lewis has competed in a national competition. Lewis competed in the South Carolina National Guard's yearly shooting competition in the spring of 2014, known as the SCNG TAG Match, where he achieved the honor as the "top gun" overall shooter.

"The South Carolina [National Guard] TAG Match allowed the Air Force to display some of the skills that they have to offer in the WPW Championship," commented Lewis. "It's rare for Airmen to have the opportunity to attend this kind of competition and it was an honor to represent both McEntire and the state of South Carolina."

Lewis' future marksmanship goals include achieving a distinguished pistol shooter's badge and the Presidents 100 badge.

There is not a lot of emphasis or funding for Air Force marksmanship. However, our results in previous matches allotted us the opportunity for invitation to the WPW Championship, commented Lewis. Competitions like the WPW definitely build friendly camaraderie between the Air and Army National Guard.