News: Competitive shooting benefits Marines
Story by Lance Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot
FORT BENNING, Ga. - “This is a lot harder than just qualifying [with the service pistol],” said Sgt. Edgardo Gonzalez, a member of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Shooting Team, based out of South Carolina.
Gonzalez is shooting the .45-caliber, .22-caliber and a 9 mm service pistol with the Parris Island team at the 52nd Annual Interservice Pistol Championships here June 9 - 17.
Gonzalez explained that he has been shooting pistol for his team for only a month, but he already feels he can bring this experience to recruits as a primary marksmanship instructor aboard Parris Island.
In addition to the Parris Island team, the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Pistol Team and the Marine Corps Pistol Team represented the Corps at the championships, all striving to encourage more participation by Marines in competitive marksmanship.
“We want to promote the competition arms program,” said Capt. Donald Traves, officer-in-charge of the Marine Corps Pistol Team. “We teach the fundamentals of marksmanship. [Our Marines] can go back and show their units what they’ve learned.”
At the interservice competition level, the service-wide shooting teams bring some of the military’s best shooters to compete.
“Here we get to learn from the service teams,” said Master Sgt. Lee Duncan, the captain of the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Pistol Team, based out of California. “The members of those teams talk to us and give us pointers to improve.”
Gonzalez explained that the unique structure of pistol competition shooting – shooting with only one hand and sometimes using a special dot sight – pushes Marines to perfect their shooting.
“We’ve benefited from coming here,” said Chief Warrant Officer Two Jordan Kramp, captain of the Parris Island team. “It’s important to bring post or station shooting teams to see higher levels of competition where they can share marksmanship skills and training.”
Kramp added that the refined style of competition shooting prepares Marines for more than firing on a range.
“If you master the fundamentals here, you can pick up any weapon in any environment and be effective with that weapon. It’s combat readiness,” said Kramp.
Gonzalez, Traves and Kramp were all emphatic that the competition marksmanship program remains alive in the Marine Corps.
“This is all about promoting marksmanship,” said Traves. “[Competition shooting] is an opportunity for Marines to test their abilities, and it gives the Marine Corps a good idea of where we’re standing as marksmen.”
Whether competing with the nation’s best marksmen or sharing knowledge with Marines at their posts or stations, competition shooting teams continuously refine marksmanship in the Marine Corps.