James White is a WWII Marine Veteran, NRA Instructor, Former ORA President, and Distinguished Marksman. He served the ORA for many years and began the Sharpshooter. This is from his personal archives as writer for the Sharpshooter and various other publications.
In April of 1955, A National Rifle Association High Power Rifle Regional Match was held at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The range officer for the match was a soldier, First Sergeant James Outlaw. Sergeant Outlaw wore the old Army utility uniform. A tab sewed just below the left shoulder seam contrasted nicely with the gray green cloth of his utility jacket. The tab was a curved piece of yellow material, about four inches long and half an inch wide. On to that strip of yellow cloth were embroidered, in bold green letters, the words “PRESIDENT’S HUNDRED.” Those words identified Sergeant Outlaw as a rifleman of distinction. That was my first exposure to the President’s Hundred.
The President’s Match is held annually at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. Separate matches are held in the service pistol and service rifle phases of the “board matches.” The top competitors in these matches become one of the rare members of an elite group, the President’s Hundred.
The winner of a President’s Match receives the President’s Trophy plaque and (at least in past years) a congratulatory letter from the president of the United States. The high scoring 15% of the competitors in the match, not to exceed 100, each receive a President’s Hundred metallic brassard. Most usually, the 100 top competitors in the Rifle President’s Match make up no more than about 7% of the total number of competitors.
The metallic brassard is about three inches long and an inch wide, cast in 1/16 inch thick bronze. It is decorated with the words “PRESIDENT’S HUNDRED” and other insignia, including an enameled representation of the presidential seal. It is curved to fit a shoulder or a hat and has two pin clasp fasteners.
A member of the United States Army who has won the award is authorized to wear the yellow and green President’s Hundred Tab on the left shoulder of a Class A uniform. The Naval Services (Navy and Marine Corps) do not allow wearing of this device on their uniforms. The Tab is the same size and shape as another Army award, the “RANGER”; Tab. The President’s Hundred award is much rarer.
The President’s Match is not limited to military shooters. Some civilians are winners each year. Many of these civilians are former members of military shooting teams who have not lost any of their shooting skills simply because they no longer wear the uniform.
No classification system in this match allows a shooter to compete within his own skill level. A beginning shooter is possibly competing against former winners of the President’s Match. The only winners are the competitors who shoot the hundred best scores with a service rifle or service pistol. This makes the award difficult to win. Much prestige and satisfaction go along with the metallic brassard awarded for achieving this status.
The course of fire for the Pistol President’s match is: 20 shots slow fire at 50 yards 10 shots time fire at 25 yards 10 shots rapid fire at 25 yards. The service pistol must be used.
The course of fire for the Rifle President’s match is: 10 shots, 200 yards, slow fire, standing position 10 shots, 300 yards, rapid fire, prone from standing 10 shots, 600 yards, slow fire, prone.
The service rifle must be used. No sighting or practice shots are allowed in the President’s Match. Competitors begin firing on their feet in the standing position, cold turkey. How many people have become members of the President’s Hundred?
The National Matches have been held since about 1903, but were not held during wartime periods and some occasional isolated years. The National Matches have been conducted about 95 times. If different people became members of the President’s Hundred in each of the matches fired with a rifle, simple arithmetic would arrive at a count of a little over 11,000 people. But it’s possible to win the award multiple times. At least half of the rifle winners each year have been members of the President’s Hundred before. The author of this article has made it in 1977, 1978, 1982 and 1985. If twice was the maximum number that the award was won, that would reduce the number to about 5,500.
Many present and former members of military rifle teams have won numerous times. My estimate of the total number of people who have made the rifle version of the President’s Hundred roster at least one time is somewhere between 2,500 and 4,500.
President’s Hundred rifle awards are probably as rare as an NFL Super Bowl ring.