ROBERTSON BARRACKS, NT, AUSTRALIA
ROBERTSON BARRACKS, Northern Territory, Australia – Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, and Australian soldiers with 12th Platoon, Delta Company, 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, faced off in a poker-shoot competition, here, May 16.
After 22 teams took aim at full decks of playing cards as their targets, only one team of Marines walked away victors, shooting the best hands throughout the competition.
Even though this competition put a different spin on playing poker, one thing remained the same: competitors still needed to come up with a strategy.
“Our game plan was to keep good communication with the Marines on our team,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremy Coulon, member of the winning team, with Weapons Platoon, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “We utilized the ten seconds we had on the line to verify where the placements of the cards were on the target. We were gunning for the aces.”
Although the Australian soldiers had seen better days, they still thought the competition was unique and fun.
“It was something different. We do a lot of grouping shoots, so it was fun to get out and play cards with the Marines,” said Australian Army Pvt. Kristan Vance, one of the competitors with 12th Plt., Delta Co., 5RAR. “We had a little system. People would scan the ranks of cards for aces, but unfortunately, they beat us by two high.”
Leaders with Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D, said not only did this competition break the monotony of typical shoots, but it also provided the Marines and Australian soldiers with some intense marksmanship training by giving them only seconds to engage their targets.
“They have a very short window of target recognition. They’ve got to scan their target, ID their target, shoot it and then communicate with each other in order to let the other members of their team know who shot which card,” said 1st Sgt. William Conner, company first sergeant, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “It’s five-man teams, but they learned communication at a small-unit level.”
In addition to the stress of engaging and recognizing their targets within a short amount of time, the Marines also had to complete five squats and five push-ups before taking position at the firing line.
“The point of this shoot was to get the heart rate up a little bit. It’s a little harder to shoot when you have adrenaline pumping,” said Conner. “This was great training.”
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