Reconnaissance Marines from 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, based in Okinawa, Japan, are conducting marksmanship training at Kaneohe Bay Range Training Facility from Feb. 4 through 9 as a part of Exercise Sandfisher, an amphibious training exercise running through March 14, 2014.
Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Dare, the Bravo Company operations chief for 3rd Recon Bn., and a native of New Braunfels, Texas, said the purpose for the training is to enhance weapons confidence and capability while engaging the enemy in combat.
“A reconnaissance team is a six-man team that must remain clandestine during missions,” Dare said. “They must remain unseen. If they are compromised and receive contact, those six members need to move and shoot well in order to defend themselves. They need a higher set of skills to get out of a situation because they don’t have the numbers (in personnel) to help get them out.”
Even as the rain poured, the reconnaissance Marines continued shooting and developing their marksmanship skills, beginning with dry firing and moving to live-fire drills.
Dare explained the training covered basic fundamentals to enhanced marksmanship on short, mid and long-distance ranges with the 27 infantry automatic rifle, M249 squad automatic weapon, M4 carbine and .45-caliber pistol.
“Since there’s not a moment in combat that isn’t stressful, we perform stress drills,” Dare said. “They shoot with an elevated heartbeat, like after a 100-yard sprint or by creating competition, to force them to shoot within a speed that is uncomfortable so they get to a point where any speed is comfortable.”
Lance Cpl. Oliver Love, an assistant radio telephone operator with the jump team, Bravo Co., 3rd Recon Bn., and a native of Canandaigua, N.Y., said the training is very important and this is the first time since infantry school that he has been able to shoot an M27 infantry automatic rifle.
“Being able to shoot again is a good opportunity for all of us,” Love said. “It’s really important that I hone in on my skills shooting an IAR if they want me to carry it with our team. I really appreciate the weapon system. It’s very accurate and an important addition to our capabilities.”
Sgt. David Tanney, the jump team leader with Bravo Co., 3rd Recon Bn., and a native of Bellefonte, Pa., explained the training’s progression and importance.
“At first, Gunny Dare went over battle sight zeroing the rifle combat optic,” Tanney said. “It’s something that Marines should pay more attention to, instead of going through the (motions). The whole purpose of initial shooting is to get familiarized with the rifle combat optic and zero it correctly.”
Tanney went on to explain how this training can positively impact their futures.
“If we are sent on a real-world mission, we have to be able to defend ourselves,” Tanney said. “The more practice we have now, the better off we’ll be. This is the first shooting package we’ve done as a team, so it’s good to see how everyone performs.”
Love discussed different aspects of marksmanship training, including how it benefits his team.
“Having two fully automatic weapons in our team allows us to lay down a lot more fire power if we were to get compromised, which allows us to survive,” Love said. “I believe that every combat-related military occupational specialty should shoot regularly to develop critical skills. The training is a refreshment, and helps us get back into the swing of things."