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Marines apply marksmanship skills

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Ensuring the Marine Corps maintains its reputation of having the best riflemen in the world is a tremendous responsibility the Corps places on its Marines.

Marines with various III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific units participated in a combat marksmanship training course at Camp Hansen Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 in preparation for being part of the next generation of range coaches.

There are numerous responsibilities that come with the title of range coach, including teaching and analyzing the skills and techniques required to accurately fire the M16-A4 service rifle and M9 service pistol. Additionally, range coaches also assist in the day-to-day operations of the ranges.

The course allowed Marines to apply the fundamentals of marksmanship acquired in the classroom during the previous week.

The classroom training included refreshers on the fundamentals of marksmanship and instruction on teaching the intricacies of marksmanship. After reviewing the essentials, Marines applied their renewed marksmanship traits during practical application.

"The Marines are going through the necessary steps to become confident with the weapons while applying the fundamentals," said Lance Cpl. William E. Coe, a marksmanship coach with 3rd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF. "The Marines also have the chance to get comfortable with the pistol, especially since this is the first time many of them have ever fired one."

The practical application began with Marines firing the M16-A4 service rifle before moving on to the pistol.

"The Marines have to shoot the weapon to fully comprehend what they have learned," said Sgt. Argus R. Bennett, an instructor at the course and radio operator with CLR-3, 3rd MLG, III MEF. "This training gives the Marines the confidence they need and will benefit them in the future."

Range coaches are entrusted to develop Marines by passing on the Corps’ time-honored tradition of precise marksmanship, making it critical for them to learn the necessary skills to be effective teachers.

"I hold these skills very dear to me," said Staff Sgt. Robert E. Valdez, the course’s chief instructor with Company B, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. "Since every Marine is a rifleman, I want to teach these Marines as much as I can so they can become excellent coaches."

Article by Lance Cpl. Anne K. Henry, Marine Corps Installations Pacific