News: Aiming for excellence; base shooting matches begin
Story by Cpl. Lauren Kurkimilis
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - This year’s Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Intramural Shooting Matches are scheduled for Sept. 22 to Oct. 10 and the installation’s Marksmanship Training Unit encourages all who are interested in signing up.
The matches will be held five days a week at the Combat Center’s rifle range. Up to 192 active-duty Marines and sailors, and DoD employees who are permitted to handle a government firearm, are eligible to complete.
“Marksmanship is crucial,” said Cpl. Kyle Mass, shooter, Combat Center Shooting Team. “It’s what we do as Marines and we want to help maintain that standard by hosting these matches. That is why we are trying to get max participation.”
The competition allows Marines to gain experience in a match–like environment in case they want to continue shooting competitively. During the matches, shooters will fire the M16A4 or M4 service rifle and M9 service pistol at various ranges. The rifle ranges begin at 200 yards and end at 500 yards. The pistol portion is shot from 25 yards and is all shot using one hand.
“The competition is set up similar to division matches,” said Sgt. Wayne Gallagher, head coach, Combat Center Shooting Team. “The only difference is, we run ours with a coaches’ course, so it’s three weeks long instead of two.”
All shooters will report Monday for a welcome aboard brief, and those aren’t not be participating in Coaches Course will show up on Friday to begin firing.
“The only requirement by the commands is that they send their Marines and they provide them with an M-16 A4 or M-4, with RCO, and an M-9 or M-9 A1,” Gallagher said.
Last year, the installation took 11 shooters to division matches. Of those 11, seven were new shooters who completed in intramural events and were picked up for division matches. Of those seven, one became the Western Division Champion on the rifle. He out-shot two national champions as well as many distinguished shooters.
Last year, Gallagher won the Lockheimer Award, which is the gold medal for being the Marine Corps shooting champion.
“Last year, we had 82 shooters total and this year we’re trying to get more participation from all and encourage more females and officers to sign up,” Gallagher said. “At the end of the match, everyone has fiscal [qualifications] out of the way. It’s a fun time. You can become a better shooter and eventually you could even make your way to the Marine Corps Shooting Team.”
For more information on how to participate in this year’s Intramural Shooting Matches, sign up with your command or call the Marksmanship Training Unit at 830-6700.