Military Marksmanship Association
Formerly AMUA - Army Marksmanship Unit Association

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Photo of LTC (R) Francis B. Conway


Francis B. Conway

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Francis B. "Frank" Conway, 92,  a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico died April 25, 2011. He was born February 7, 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts, and lived a full and extraordinary life.

Answering the call to duty in World War II, he joined the U.S. Army the day after Pearl Harbor and was assigned to the Small Arms Repair Section, Company C, 130th Maintenance Battalion, 8th Armored Division. He served in that organization throughout World War II seeing action in Normandy, France; Battle of the Bulge, Alsace, Belgium; Germany; and Czechoslovakia until the division was the deactivated in November 1945.

After World War II, he had tours with missile and ordnance organizations in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.

As a Master Sergeant, he joined the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in 1953. He was commissioned as a Captain in the Ordnance Corps by the Army Chief of Staff in 1957, and served as the Commander of the U.S. Army European Marksmanship Unit in Grafenwöhr, Germany from 1963 to 1966, and as the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit's Ordnance Shop Officer from 1966 to 1970. After tours in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Korea; Germany; and Fort Benning, Georgia, he retired with 29 years of service on October 1, 1970.

Shooting was his passion, and 1950 was the beginning of his reign in high power rifle shooting. His victories include the Infantry Center Rifle Championships, Third Army Rifle Championships, Coast Guard Cup, Member Trophy, Marine Corps Cup, and the Wimbledon Cup in 1955 and again in 1956. Along the way, he also set several national and international shooting records. His passion continued through his 40 years of retirement, both as a shooter and as a gunsmith. He was the chief architect of the Butterfield Trail Shooting Range, Coach of the 1977 Bolivian National Rifle and Pistol teams, and he provided weapons displays and seminars at gun shows and at schools. He is the "father" of the XM-21 military sniper rifle and contributed to several technical shooting publications.

Frank was a proud and active supporter of numerous organizations—being a life member of most—including the Picacho Gun Club, New Mexico Shooting Sports Association, Reserve Officers Association, Military Order Of The World Wars, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, U.S. Marine Corps League, Military Officers Association of America, a Benefactor Member of the NRA, and the Military Marksmanship Association.

His military awards include the Army Commendation Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), Good Conduct Medal with five loops, U.S. Army Distinguished Rifleman Badge, and the Presidents Hundred Tab.

Frank was inducted into three halls of fame: the New Mexico Shooting Sports Hall of Fame, the United States Army Marksmanship Unit Hall of Fame, and the NRA Legion of Honor.

Note: A complete listing of Army Awards and Decorations can be viewed at The Institute of Heraldry.

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