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News | March 15, 2024

USAMU Soldier inducted into SEC Women's Legends Class of 2024

By Hunter West USAREC Public Affairs

On March 8, 2024, International Women’s Day, Sgt. Alison Weisz, stood before the fans of her alma mater to receive the honor of being inducted into the Southeastern Conference Women’s Legends Class of 2024. With this recognition, Weisz, a Soldier in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, joined a legacy of women who have competed and excelled at the highest level of their respective sports.

Weisz was a member of the Ole Miss Rebels Rifle team from 2013 to 2017, where she was named a two-time All-American and four-time NCAA Championship Individual Qualifier. Being able to wear her Army Green Service Uniform on center court was significant for Weisz because she felt it to be a great representation of women being capable of anything they strive to do.

“For me, it was an amazing opportunity to celebrate my athletic achievements and military service as a woman.” Weisz said.

Sgt. 1st Class Henry Gray, Assistant Team Chief for the International Rifle team and one of Weisz’s coaches at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, began trying to recruit Weisz to join the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in 2018 but her priority was to finish some things in college first, namely her master’s in nutrition. Weisz joined the U.S. Army in 2020 after she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, much to the surprise of her peers at Ole Miss.

“She embodies the notion that Soldiers come from all walks of life,” Sgt. 1st Gray said, “Not every Soldier has to fit into a strict combat role and the Army has many diverse job opportunities available.”

When the 2020 Olympics faced postponement, ranges were closed, competitions were cancelled, and the Olympic teams were put in a limbo waiting for their moment on the global stage. Rather than waiting in the in-between during a time of uncertainty, Weisz took the opportunity to enlist in the Army as a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. This choice meant that when the Olympic games resumed in 2021, Weisz not only represented the United States as part of Team U.S.A., but represented the Army as an Army Marksmanship Soldier. Participating in the Olympics under your country’s flag is a dream for many athletes who are at the top of their sports, but for Weisz, doing so while active serving her country made the event more special.

“My experiences through Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training helped sharpen my mind, increase resilience, engrain discipline and so much more prior to the Olympics,” Weisz said. “The sacrifices a Soldier makes to serve our country was at the forefront of my mind while in Tokyo.”

Weisz has a passion for the sport and a desire to give back to the community that grew her as a young child. Going through a gun safety and education course at the age of 9, Weisz found a love for the sport and learned about the opportunities she could have in the future through competitive target shooting. Weisz gained motivation and was inspired to train and compete by her mentor at the time. Her mentor informed her that competitive shooting was not only a NCAA level sport, but an Olympic sport.

“At 9 years old my mentor told me that I had a lot of talent and could go far one day if I wanted to put in the work.” Weisz said.

Since becoming an Olympian, World Champion, and a World Record holder, Weisz’s reach in the shooting community has grown. As a U.S. Soldier and an Olympian, Weisz has a unique way of representing herself and fellow female Soldiers to the public. Serving in a field where women are not often seen, and competing in a sport is typically associated with male athletes, Weisz has a personal goal of showing young women that you can be both a Soldier and a woman without changing who they are.

When Weisz began her journey in competitive target shooting, she didn’t plan to become a role model to young female competitive marksmen, but as she progressed through her training and competitions, she made it a daily goal for herself. Weisz prioritizes showing young females and female athletes in the brightest light and encourages them to challenge themselves, embrace growth opportunities, and most of all, be their most authentic selves.

“I always joke about how I am not the expected personality of a Soldier, but that’s what is so great about being in the U.S. Army,” Weisz said, “I can be a woman while exemplifying the grit, discipline, strength and courage of a U.S. Army Soldier.”

All eyes will be on Weisz as she continues to serve with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, mastering her craft in competitive target shooting.



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