Army West Point Pistol
On Target with Success
By Kim McDermott ’87, WPAOG staff
(West Point magazine fall 2019)
In the late summer of 1993, a Daily Bulletin item caught the attention of Lieutenant Colonel Duston Saunders ’72 (Retired) (then working at the West Point Association of Graduates). The Academy was seeking a volunteer coach for the Pistol Team. During an assignment at West Point in the 1980s, Saunders and his wife had sponsored four cadets from the Class of 1984 and found it to be a very rewarding experience. He hoped that coaching the Pistol Team would be equally so. He says, “I had no background in competitive shooting. Along with picking the brain of the outgoing coach, Jack McJunkin, I attended several NRA firearms instructor courses and coach certification courses.”
The leadership at AOG supported Saunders’ desire to coach, and he is now entering his 27th year. Prior to 1993, Army Pistol had been a Corps Squad, or varsity, sport. Budgetary cuts affecting the Academy at the time meant some things had to change, and downgrading the program to a club status was one of them. Despite the change, the team still competes against many of the same opponents each year. Primary competition includes: U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, The Citadel, Virginia Military Institute, Texas A&M, and Ohio State University. Full story.