He becomes the first cadet-athlete to do so.Marine Corps Second Lieutenant David Higgins, of San Clemente, California, qualified “Olympic Expert” in April of this year when he out-shot multiple-time medalist Matt Emmons in the 50m prone rifle event.Olympic shooting consists of multiple events across different platforms. These include air pistol, air rifle, double trap, pistol, rapid fire pistol, rifle prone, rifle three position, skeet and trap. Higgins, who is 22 years old, attended the Air Force Academy and graduated June 2nd of this year. While most who attend the prestigious military school go on to commission as officers in the Air Force, Higgins chose the Marine Corps.
“My dad is a Marine, so I grew up in the Marine Culture,” he said. He also noted that he was more interested in leading Marines and in the ground-based aspect of the Marine Corps.Higgins has been shooting from a very young age. He started with BB guns around age five, and moved on to high-power matches in Louisiana. His abilities caught the eye of Olympic Development Team member Michael Liuzza, who told Higgins that he should to smallbore and air rifle if he wanted to shoot in college.Higgins decided to attend the Air Force Academy in part because of the quality of the shooting coaches there. He is currently working on multiple aspects of his shooting game leading up to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These include visualization, controlling emotions, and ensuring the gun and his equipment are one hundred percent ready to go.The Marine Corps, for its part, has agreed to allow Higgins to defer some of his training. He will eventually attend the Basic School in order to prepare for duty as a company grade officer.