Seven top marksmen from Ashburton Cadet Unit have earned their marksman badges and four cadets have been promoted.
The surprise presentations were made to the unit by Major Cezarne Rodgers on parade at a recent training.
Those to be promoted were officer cadet Brendan Thomas (a civilian starting his procession to becoming an officer), corporal Sebastian van Rooyen (to sergeant), cadet corporal Liam Collett (to sergeant) and cadet Wessel Blignault (to lance corporal).
The cadets, who shot in a mix of shoots since June, earned their marksman badges by achieving an 80 percent or more in one shoot.
The targets, spanning 25 yards (or 22.86 metres), were each independently verified.
They were corporal Sebastian van Rooyen, lance corporal Ashleigh Clarke, staff sergeant Brodyn Gabites, cadet corporal Liam Collett, cadet Sebastian Brown and staff sergeant Lily Wills (who has since become supplementary staff at the unit).
Major Rodgers said cadets had around eight to 12 chances a year through the unit to earn their shooting badges.
And, as one of the most active shooting units in the country, they regularly ranked in the top first and second places in the shooting national trophy, which takes place within units nationwide this month.
Ashburton are hoping for overall success and to take the trophy back from current holders at Invercargill.
She said getting awarded a marksman badge was a great milestone for cadets.
‘‘(It’s an) awesome effort for those people getting a marksman badge,’’ she said.
‘‘…it’s a lot harder to get the 80 than it is to get the other ones.’’
‘‘It’s a case of trying to get that sustained level up, and keep yourself at that level for the rest of the time,’’ she told cadets during the parade presentations.