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Story by: Eric Durr - Division of Military and Naval Affairs
Dated: Wed, Jun 30, 2010
LATHAM, NY (07/01/2010)(readMedia)-- Lewiston resident Edward Stefik, a member of both the New York State Police and the New York Air National Guard, was honored for his marksmanship skills during a short ceremony at New York National Guard headquarters outside Albany on Wednesday June 30.
Stefik, who is a rifleman on the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team, and a Master Sergeant in the 107th Airlift Wing’s Security Forces Squadron at Niagara Air Reserve Station, received the Trooper Joseph Longobardo award to reflect his top score at the annual Adjutant General’s Match National Guard shooting competition held April 16-18 at the Camp Smith Training Site near Peekskill.
Stefik was presented the trophy by Brig. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York; the commander of the New York Army and Air National Guard.
The Master Sgt. Joseph Longobardo Trophy, the New York National Guard’s top award for shooters participating in the annual competition for the first time, is named after New York State Trooper Joseph Longobardo who died in the line of duty on August 31, 2006.
Longobardo and another Trooper were searching for an escaped convict when he was shot and killed. Longobardo was a member of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Security Forces Squadron, based at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, NY.
Stefik has been a member of the New York State Police for 13 years and has been a member of the military for 18 years. He served more than 16 years in the United State Army Reserve’s 98th Division prior to joining the Air National Guard. His service in the Army Reserve included a deployment to Iraq in 2004 where he was award the Combat Action Badge.
Receiving a trophy named after Trooper Longobardo is especially meaningful because he served in the State Police with Trooper Longobardo, and the two were also in the Air National Guard, Stefik said.
"This is a big deal for us in the State Police as well as my Guard unit," Stefik said. "Every one of us has a story to tell because of Joe."
The 107th Security Forces Squadron team took top honors at the "TAG Match" in April, besting teams from the Army and Air National Guard across the state.
Approximately 150 members of the New York Army and Air National Guard, the New York Guard and the New York Naval Militia as well as representatives from other state National Guard units, participated. Soldiers and Airmen competed in pistol, rifle and combined arms events individual and team events in which participants scores with both the M-9 pistol and M-16/M-4 rifle were included. Rifle events included traditional competitive shooting at targets, close quarters battle rifle competition, and reflexive fire.
The TAG Match allows units and individual Soldiers and Airmen the opportunity to improve their level of marksmanship, engage in healthy competition, and pick top contenders to represent the state in national competitions.