Mission of National Guard Biathlon
The mission of the National Guard (NG) Biathlon program is to develop the highest levels of skiing and rifle marksmanship necessary to improve the combat ability of individual Airmen and Soldiers. Further, NG Biathlon selects and trains teams to represent the National Guard and the United States Armed Services in national and international competition, to include Biathlon World Cup and Winter Olympic events. The NG Biathlon program consists of five Vermont National Guard military staff and is responsible for developing events and funding athletes from all 54 states and territories to compete and train in biathlon. NG Biathlon conducts regional and national championship events each winter for interested Airmen and Soldiers of all abilities. The NG Biathlon program is funded and managed by the National Guard Bureau (NGB) Youth and Athletic Services program. For more information please contact NG Biathlon at (802)899-7120 or (802)899-7122.
History of National Guard Biathlon
The origins of the National Guard Biathlon program can be traced back to the indoctrination of ski incorporated warfare in the Great Scandinavian War of 1700-1718. This pivotal event in winter combat proved the methods of biathlon to be valuable assets to military defense. The biathlon skills of marksmanship and skiing that are currently practiced by the armed forces of several world nations, have continued in the present era US military simply because of their training and fitness values. International competition in biathlon skills came with the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 at Chamonix, France, in the form of a military patrol race. The first World Biathlon Championships were held in 1958, with a representative team of U.S. Military personnel from Camp Hale, CO, home of the famous 10th Mountain Division, participating. The United States introduced the modern form of biathlon competition into the Olympic Games at Squaw Valley in 1960, and hosted the biathlon events in the Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid in 1980 and again in 2002 at Salt Lake City. The U.S. Army maintained a Biathlon Training Center for military athletes at Fort Richardson, AK, from 1958 until 1973. In 1973, the active Army turned over the biathlon mission to the Vermont Army National Guard. The first Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB) Biathlon Championships was held in 1975, with seven states participating. The program has grown to over 30 participating states maintaining state-level biathlon programs. There are two primary National Guard race and training sites: CEATS, (Camp Ethan Allen Training Site), Jericho, Vermont and Camp Ripley, Minnesota, with a third site under review for incorporation into our Western Region, location undetermined. The National Guard Biathlon Office administers and supports a training center and coaching staff for All-Guard athletes and support to state-level programs. It is responsible for the annual CNGB Championships and selection of teams for the International Military Sports Council’s (CISM) Winter Ski Games and many other military competitions. In 1989, the VTARNG hosted the CISM Winter Games in the United States for the first time. That competition and those in 1993 and 2001 were held at CEATS in Jericho, VT. Members of the National Guard All-Guard Biathlon Team were represented on the 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010 U.S. Winter Olympic Biathlon Team. The National Guard Biathlon program is the only Department of Defense (DOD) organization that consistently sends Soldiers to the Olympics.