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In a career that began at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit because of her ability to write shorthand, it eventually became a job that touched thousands of shooters over nearly 40 years.
Nancy Pool, program manager for the Army Excellence-in-Competition Program, retired Friday and was honored by friends and unit members during a ceremony April 25.
"Because of your hard work and effort you have made this mission successful for over 30 years," said Lt. Col. Don King, USAMU commander.
She retires with more than four decades of federal service, in which 38 years were spent with the USAMU. Pool began her career at the unit as the operations secretary, providing direct support to the competitive branches until February 1981. She said she worked for transportation for three years before interviewing for the job at USAMU.
"Civilian personnel didn't have anyone to fill the slot with because it required short hand, so they had me take the short hand test then sent me over for the interview," Pool said.
In June 1987 her job changed to administering the publication of awards for the Army Excellence in Competition program after an almost eight-year break in federal service.
The program maintains and ensures the accuracy of all Army records for the Distinguished Marksmanship Program needed for Soldiers to earn distinguished badges for rifle and pistol and the President's Hundred tab, as well as issuing orders for the awards.
She assumed the duties as the custodian of the Army EIC records in April 1999, and in this position advised the AMU commander on the program and was the steward of the Small Arms Competitive Marksmanship Competition Program. She was a key member of the staff that updated and recreated the regulation to its current edition.
"Your dedicated efforts as the custodian of the Army Distinguished Marksman Program will surely be missed," Gary Anderson, director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, said in a letter read during the retirement ceremony. "You directed this program with great attention to detail and complete integrity."
He added the CMP staff regularly noted that Pool and the Army were far ahead of the other services in how well the Army Distinguished Badge Program was administered.
Pool provided support to numerous activities not only to USAMU shooters, but Soldiers striving to attain distinction beyond basic marksmanship.
She provided operational and statistical support for the Small Arms Firing School, annually conducted at Camp Perry, Ohio; the International Military Sports Council Military Championships held at Fort Benning; the U.S. Army Small Arms Championships, and the Winston P. Wilson National Guard Championships.
At one time she traveled with the Service Rifle Team on their summer trips to Camp Perry to compile statistical data and to provide administrative support. Camp Perry has been the site for the annual National Matches since 1907 and is the only place to earn the President's Hundred Tab. It also hosts matches to earn points toward distinguished marksmanship badges for service members and civilians.
"During your many years of devoted service you made positive contributions to numerous marksmanship programs," Anderson said. "I remember your excellent work with the Small Arms Firing Schools at the national matches, but there were many other USAMU activities that benefitted from your work. Your commitment to your duties was constant, effective and remarkable, richly deserving of congratulations and thanks."
Pool is the widow of former USAMU shooter Lt. Col. Tommy Pool, a bronze medalist in Men's Prone Rifle at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The USAMU's world-class Pool International Range Complex was named after her husband and is the site of international, national, military and high school championships, such as the World Cup, Olympic Trials, U.S. National Championships, and U.S. Army National Junior Air Rifle Championship.
"You have been part a part of our family for more than 50 years ... and from this day forward you will remain a part of that family," King said. She said shooters from every service are truly great people and that's what kept her in the shooting program for 38 years.
"Because my job deals with the total Army, I'm going to pretty much miss everyone," Pool said. "The people are going to be the hardest thing to walk away from."