'Top Shot' becomes American on his McChord tour

By Tech. Sgt. Tanya King, 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs on December 5, 2011

The first time British citizen Iain Harrison came to the Pacific Northwest, he landed at McChord Field, Wash. as a Royal Army infantryman. Twenty years later, the first season winner of the History Channel's "Top Shot" returned to become a U.S. citizen aboard a C-17 Globemaster III.

"It's a very cool way to do it," the sharp shooter said. "It beats the government office in Portland [Oregon]."

The former army infantryman said he was also proud to have the ceremony here, so he could convey his appreciation to the troops.

"The dedication and commitment they put into [military service] and their sacrifices are very much appreciated," he said.

On Dec. 3, 2011, Harrison took an oath "to bear arms and perform noncombatant service on behalf of the U.S. when required by law."

"I wanted to make this commitment to the country I love," he said, explaining that American values and way of life are the same as his own. "I'm very proud to be a U.S. citizen now."

Afterward, Harrison signed autographs and met with people at Joint Base Lewis-McChord's base exchange. He then gave an afternoon shooting lesson at the Lewis-Main firing range to about 30 Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing.

Citizen Airmen went to the firing range for various reasons, but for most, the opportunity to meet and interact with the top gun was the driving force.

"I came out today because I wanted to see who won the show," said Airman 1st Class Devin Britton, 446th Security Forces Squadron, who said he missed season one's ending and was happy to learn Harrison had won. "He was more of a silent knight on the show. He earned this."

Though Harrison did have shooting experience before serving in the British military as a recon army platoon commander, he said his infantry job gave him the opportunity to burn a lot of ammunition from service small arms to anti-tank missiles and cannons.

Saturday's demonstration, however, focused on the rifle, pistol and shotgun.

While meeting Harrison motivated many to participate, firing the weapons enticed others.

"Some of these weapons you can't buy in stores," said Tech. Sgt. James Martin, 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "It was awesome to be able to come out and shoot with them today, especially with Iain. It's great to meet a genuine person from TV."

The "Top Shot" now resides in Oregon and is an amateur gunsmith, machining his own steel and aluminum on a milling machine and lathe. In 2009, he placed second in Trooper Class in the Mike Gibson Manufacturing Ironman multi-gun competition, using his homemade firearms.

He also works full time in media relations for the firearms industry and said he is elated he now earns paycheck for something that used to just be a hobby.


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