News: Range coaches: Key to every Marine is a rifleman
Story by Pfc. Raquel Barraza
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – In a combat zone, Marines use their weapons, whether a pistol or rifle, to protect fellow warriors and even themselves. Marines must stay prepared at all times to use these weapons properly and most of all effectively.
Range coaches and combat marksmanship trainers working the Carlos Hathcock Range Complex aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., make sure Marines qualify on the range using an M16-A4 service rifle and M9 pistol. They instill basic combat marksmanship techniques for both the M16-A4 service rifle and the M9 pistol.
Cpl. Chad M. Lewison, a combat marksmanship trainer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Marksmanship Training Unit, and a Las Vegas native, works daily helping Marines of Miramar pass their qualifications.
“I think my job plays a big role in the Marine Corps, because it’s about getting every Marine ready for combat in case they have to go,” said Lewison.
Not only do coaches teach Marines the fundamentals of shooting a rifle, but also the safety precautions while doing so.
“My job is paramount out here to teach these Marines, but also to keep them safe,” said Cpl. India Harris, a range coach with H&HS and a Crescent City, Fla., native. “We have live rounds and loaded weapons, so safety is one of our biggest concerns.”
On qualification day, range coaches find satisfaction when they see a Marine improve from the last time they shot.
“I feel proud if I can help them improve themselves and give them their confidence back,” said Harris.
Both Lewison and Harris know that Marines will use what they learned if ever deployed to a combat zone.
“I feel good knowing that what I taught them, they can apply in combat and might save a life,” said Lewison.
Range coaches hold the responsibility of training Marines to ensure every Marine is a rifleman. They help marines who are preparing for qualification on the range or deploying to a combat area.