Fort Benning - Eight soldiers from Fort Benning are loading their rifles and heading overseas - not to war, but to the Olympics. Seven shooters and a gunsmith are headed to Athens, Greece to join the U.S. Olympic Shooting team.
They're up against the best in the world. "The guy that won it in 2000 was perfect," said Sgt. James Todd Graves. "He never missed." Only perfection will earn US Army marksmen Sgt. James Todd Graves or Sgt. Shawn Dulohery the gold.
"My goal is to bring back something shiny," said Sgt. Dulohery. This is Dulohery's first trip to the Olympics "It's been a 16 year battle trying to get on the team. It will be a success for me no matter what."
This is Graves' fourth trip to the Games. "I won Bronze in 2000, and I want to bring home a different color," said Sgt. Graves.
Shooting skeet is more than a sport for these soldiers. "This is our job," said Sgt. Graves. "We're here to compete and win on national, inter-service, and international levels." The Army recruited these marksmen to win. They practice five to seven hours a day and compete around the world. The world will being watching August 21-22 as they aim at 175 skeet, hoping to hit them all. "You just hope everything works out for you on those two days," said Sgt. Graves.
Graves and Dulohery are solo shooters, but they represent so many more. "Myself, I going over there to try to win a metal to represent the US Army and all the troops that are overseas," said Sgt. Graves.
"I hope that I'm a spokesperson for those guys overseas in the trenches defending what we believe is right," said Sgt. Dulohery. "If they're watching TV, if they even have TV, they'll be able to say 'That's one of our guys.' Whatever we do will be for them." They will be shooting for the troops, the Army, and the United States of America.
The seven shooters and the gunsmith will leave for Athens, Greece on August 10, 2004. The others will compete in pistol and rifle competitions, as well as trap shooting. WALB will have full coverage of the Olympics.