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    Aim center, hit center: Corps' top shooters compete in 2014 Marine Corps Match Championships

    Aim center, hit center: Corps' top shooters compete in 2014 Marine Corps Match Championships

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders | Cpl. Gerald B. Guerra, air support net operator with Marine Air Support Squadron 3,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders 

    Marine Corps Installations East     

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – In the cold, windy rain, Marines tried to keep a stable position as they held a 17-pound rifle and aimed for center mass. Hitting center mass wasn’t always the outcome, but few Marines were able to gain stability and earned gold, silver and bronze medals.

    The Marine Corps’ top shooters from around the world gathered at the Weapons Training Battalion range at Stone Bay to compete in the 2014 Marine Corps Match Championships, April 14-16.

    “At the matches, we are trying to make Marines the best marksman they can be for the competition,” said Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Lindeman, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the pistol team, Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. “Another reason why (the Marines’ top shooters) are here is because the Marine Corps Shooting Teams are observing them and will potentially select them for the summer team to represent the Marine Corps in matches around the world.”

    Six division teams comprised of 84 Marines, from California, Hawaii, Virginia, Okinawa, and the Carolinas competed in three different categories. The individual rifle match, the individual pistol match, and the team rifle and pistol match.

    During competition marksmanship, competitors are supplied with unique shooting jackets and non-slip leather rifle slings that provide additional stability, and long-distance scouting scopes to sight shots at distances more than 600 yards, Lindeman added.

    Competitors used the National Match M16A4 service rifle with iron sights for the individual rifle match and team match, and shot from the 200-yard line, 300-yard line and 600-yard line. The match rifle weighs approximately 17 pounds and has a stainless steel barrel with both weighted hand guards and butt stock.

    “I was confident going into the competition knowing it was going to be with the match rifle,” said Sgt. Richard N. West, drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., Eastern Division Team. “I never knew a match rifle existed and that it was weighted, and knowing we were using iron sights, I knew I would shoot better. My confidence grew knowing that we were shooting with iron sights because it is easier to ‘aim center, hit center.’”

    At the pistol range, competitors fired the National Match M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol – one-handed, per competition rules. They started at the 50-yard line and fired 10 rounds in 10 minutes from the standing position. For the next stage, competitors remained in the standing and shot at the 25-yard line for the timed fire stage.

    “Before the Marine Corps, I never shot a pistol, and then I qualified as sharpshooter in 2009 and never picked one up again,” said West. “Going from 2009 to 2014, shooting a pistol one-handed, definitely added pressure. Pistol is more technical and there’s a lot more room for error.”

    Shooting for competition doesn’t come easy, especially in North Carolina. There are long hours six days out of the week, and the shooting continues no matter what the weather. Despite the long hours and wildly varying temperatures, West said he thoroughly enjoyed his experience from being able to take part in the competition.

    “Overall, I learned a plethora of knowledge during my stay out at Stone Bay,” said West. “There’s more pride and more passion in shooting for competition. You definitely have to care about what you do and take pride in marksmanship to want to be here.”

    After several weeks of practice, and three days of competing, the competition concluded with an awards ceremony, April 18. The categories and results are as follows:

    Individual Rifle
    1st Gold – Lance Cpl. Brandon S. King, Western Division Team
    1st Silver – 2nd Lt. George Planeta, Western Division Team
    1st Bronze – 1st Sgt. Maurice S. Huffman, Marine Corps Forces Reserve Division Team

    Individual Pistol
    1st Gold – Gunnery Sgt. Barry A. Worster, Far East Division Team
    1st Silver – Cpl. Keith B. Earnshaw, Eastern Division Team
    1st Bronze – Cpl. Jeremy Q. Sleeman, Pacific Division Team

    Team Rifle
    1 – Western Division Team
    Lance Cpl. Brandon S. King
    Lance Cpl. James C. Pennington
    Cpl. Gerald B. Guerra
    Sgt. Wayne S. Gallagher
    Sgt. Rafael D. Salas
    2nd Lt. George Planeta

    Team Pistol
    1 – Western Division Team
    Cpl. James K. Marker
    Sgt. Wayne S. Gallagher
    Staff Sgt. Stephen T. Ferguson
    Chief Warrant Officer 4 Duane S. Ledford



    Date Taken: 04.23.2014
    Date Posted: 04.23.2014 12:03
    Story ID: 127240
    Location: JACKSONVILLE, NC, US 

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