News: Rifle matches serve to make Marines better riflemen
Story by Sgt. Christopher Zahn
QUANTICO, Va. - Marine Corps Combat Development Command is organizing a shooting team to compete in the Intramural and Division matches in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The team will be open to all Marines from Quantico and the National Command Region, except those on the Marine Corps Shooting Team.
“The purpose of the matches, which are part of the Competition-in-Arms Program, is to provide a forum for marksmanship that supplements our annual qualification,” said Capt. Donald Traves, who is organizing the MCCDC team. “It enables our Marines to get more time on the weapons and really refine their fundamentals.”
Both matches, as spelled out in MCBUL 3591, are a three-week training package that covers classroom instruction, dry firing, and combat marksmanship coach classes in week one. For week two, the shooters will develop shooting positions, establish zeroes, and enhance individual marksmanship proficiency, individual practice.
They will also fire preliminary matches. Week three consists of the competition matches with rifle and pistol, which covers the same qualification courses as the annual requirement.
“Competition shooting is far different from shooting on the battlefield, but it really teaches you the fundamentals,” said Cpl. Preston Hayes, a competitor in last year’s matches. “If you refine your skills there, you’re more apt to apply them when really needed.”
There is no requirement for rank or previous match experience. All qualifications are welcome as well, not just experts.
“It used to be in the order that you had to be at least a sharpshooter and other requirements,” said Traves. “But if division and intramural matches are there so we can take what we do annually for our sustainment and go to a higher level, then the guys who are going to benefit the most are going to be your marksman and sharpshooters.”
The matches offer a unique opportunity to receive extended time learning from the experts of the Marksmanship Training Unit and the Marine Corps’ Rifle and Pistol Teams. Each shooter in the intramural matches will be certified as a Combat Marksmanship Coach and the division matches will qualify all shooters with the rifle and pistol.
“Commanders are losing their Marines for three weeks, but they are getting professional military education, time on the weapon, which will benefit everybody, and when they come back with their annual rifle and pistol qualification done, it doesn’t take away from the commander’s allocation,” Traves added.
The intramural match will take place from Feb. 20 to March 9 and the division match will be from March 18 to April 6. Both events are temporary additional duty fully funded by MCCDC and all interested participants can contact Traves at Donald.firstname.lastname@example.org