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Candidates for Scout Sniper Platoon dig deep to complete two-week preparation course

By Sgt. Austin Long, Defense Media Activity

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina -- Stealthily making his way through the brush under the beating sun, a Marine gradually makes his way closer to instructors searching for him through high-powered binoculars. Over the course of two hours, he steadily moves over 250 meters to get to his final firing position where he will set up in position to take a shot on one of the men searching for him.

In order for him to successfully complete his mission, he must advance undetected, establish a firing position, make a shot without being seen and retreat before being discovered. 

Marines with Scout Sniper Platoon, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment completed a two-week Basic Scout Sniper Course Preparation Course aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 13-24, 2015. 

Fifteen Marines participated in the two-week introduction course, but only 11 completed the training and were given opportunities to stay with the platoon.

“This was an evaluation and introductory phase to give the Marines an idea of what they can expect in the future,” said Sgt. Charles Holloway, a chief scout with the platoon. “Two weeks isn’t enough time to hit all the wickets, but it’s enough time to build a good foundation and build the skills they will need in order to be prepared for the Scout Sniper Basic Course.”

During the two weeks, the Marines learned observation techniques, how to draw a field sketch and range card, land navigation, how to stalk a target, and completed a live-fire unknown distance range. 

Techniques built during the exercises are simply the foundation of a scout sniper’s mission, said Holloway, a native of Rockledge, Florida. 

“We’re focusing on training similar to that of the Scout Sniper Basic Course,” said Holloway. “The areas we are focusing on are the areas that many students attending the school struggle with. So we, as instructors, chose to focus on these areas in order to help begin building the skills to help them be most successful when they get the opportunity to attend the Scout Sniper Basic Course.”

Holloway said once this foundation is built to standards, the platoon can begin training at advanced levels and begin training in areas that are more applicable to the overall mission of a scout sniper. 

Throughout the training, the candidates were pushed to their limits and tested on various levels. While continuously learning new skill sets, the candidates still had to find ways to make it through the strenuous training. 

“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do as a kid,” said Lance Cpl. Alec Jones, a candidate with the platoon. “Sometimes you just have to remember why you volunteered for something like this, because on some days that’s all you have to get you to through to the next day. It feels good to challenge yourself daily and earn your keep. I’m grateful for this opportunity to learn from the scout snipers and senior leadership in the platoon. It feels good to be a part of such a tight knit family, and I’m looking forward having the opportunity to better myself.”

The 11 Marines who completed the training will begin to build on what they learned to complete the Scout Sniper Basic Course in the future.

“The Marines who finished the training have potential and a good outlook ahead of them,” said Holloway. “They have the mentality to keep improving themselves and their skills. Now we can begin to build the skills they will need in order to support the types of missions they will be tasked with.”
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