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News | Oct. 11, 2012

NORAD Operation Center officer "double-tapped" top award at Canadian Forces Small Arms Concentration competition in Ottawa

By RCN Lt. Al Blondin NORAD Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - For the first time, a Royal Canadian Air Force officer has won the Canadian Forces’ top marksman award twice in a row.

RCAF Capt. Ken Barling, NORAD headquarters air combat systems officer, was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Champion Shot for the second year in a row at this year’s Canadian Forces Small Arms Concentration competition held Sept. 9 - 22 at Connaught Range in Ottawa, Ontario.

Barling works as an Air Domain crew-member in the NORAD command center. He was posted to NORAD in August 2011.

“I feel very fortunate to have done as well as I did,” said Barling. “There are a lot of other first rate marksmen out there, and the competition was very close.”

Training for the competition while at NORAD was a challenge. “That’s the funny part of it,” said Barling, “I didn’t do any training down here for rifle because we don’t have the equipment or resources here to practice with. There were no military rifles, ammunition or ranges available for me to use.”

The Canadian Forces Small Arms Concentration competition is Canada’s number-one military skill-at-arms contest. It evolved from the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association founded in 1869, the same year the Queen’s Medal for Champion Shot was authorized in Britain by Queen Victoria. The DRCA still runs its own competition jointly with the CFSAC every year. It wasn't until 1991 that the Queen’s medal for Champion Shot was instituted in Canada. The medal is the highest prize awarded at the CFSAC. Two have been awarded yearly since 1991: one to a Regular member of the CF, and the other to a member of the CF Reserves or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“I’m very grateful for the support I received through my chain of command at the NORAD and USNORTHCOM command center,” said Barling. “They gave me the time off and financial support to attend CFSAC. I was also very lucky to have help from my former teammates from the Aerospace Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron Small Arms Team out of Trenton. Without them, I wouldn’t have had any equipment. Finally, I was very fortunate to have had my parent in attendance at the final awards ceremony. They made a memorable day all the more special by being there.”

In terms of future competitions, the airman was unequivocal, “I would very much like to attend CFSAC next year,” affirmed Barling. “It would be great if we could send a small 4-man team to represent NORAD, although getting the kit and equipment would be a challenge. Personally, I would really like to win both the rifle and pistol competitions at the same time. I’ve come very close to doing this in the past, so I think it’s a realistic goal to have.”

The top marksmen at this year’s competition will proceed to represent the CF Combat Shooting Team in Australia, Bisley (United Kingdom), and Arkansas at the International Military Marksmanship competition next year.