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  • Mar
  • 2016
Shooting with a purpose

By Lance Cpl. Jesus Sepulveda Torres, Marine Corps Base Hawaii

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII -- Marines with the Marine Corps Combat Shooting Team hosted a Pacific Combat Shooting Match at the Kaneohe Bay Range Training Facility at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, March 16, 2016. Teams from different units used various weapons and tactics to achieve the fastest time possible on different courses of fire, while earning points for awards during the competition.

Marines from the Marine Corps Combat Shooting Team instructed and gave advice to the Marines participating in the event.

Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Stocking, the officer in charge of the Marine Corps Shooting Team, said this training will save lives and be useful in real life situations. He said the things they taught during the competitions were skills he wished he learned before his first combat deployment.

“Every Marine that left here today has increased his survivability and lethality in combat by 90% compared to what it was before,” said Stocking, a Phoenix, Ariz., native.

Marines will leave today with more knowledge and confidence in their abilities to stand on their own and as a team, he said.

“The Combat marksmanship competitions consist of the fundamentals you get taught from Marine Combat Training,” Stocking said. “What we are doing now is amplifying those fundamentals under a combat simulated environment.”

Marines used stock weapons they were issued such as the M16A4 Service Rifle, M4 Carbine, M9 Service Pistol and the 1014 Service on different courses of fire.

Stocking said many of the Marines in the competition had little to no experience using the shotgun or pistol. However, the Marines had time prior to the competition to become comfortable with their weapons.

“They moved and transitioned weapons between targets, and shooters completed the courses of fire as fast as possible; traversing obstacles with all their gear,” he said. “For example, one part of the course they shot around a corner with their rifle and walked up slowly firing their pistol.”

These kinds of competitions are not exclusive and are open to all Marines and services.

Lance Cpl. Drew Dodd, a rifleman with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, said this was his first time participating in a Combat Shooting Match competition.

“We don’t get this type of training every day, and I wish we had more competitions like this,” said Dodd, a Highlands Ranch, Colo., native. “The competition today had a lot of good training and was very fun.”

The stress and speed of the competition is what Marines may expect in combat, he said.

“There are obvious things that can’t be implemented to the competition to make it more like combat, but as far as how it works, it’s close,” said Dodd. “It still makes your adrenaline rush, your stress levels go up and your heart rate beat faster. That feeling is why I loved this competition so much.”

Dodd said he and his team enjoyed the competition, with his team of four attaining high scores and low times.

“I’m out here having a good time with my buddies and we all love it,” he said. “I had a lot fun shooting on the range; all the shooting scenarios were exciting and creative. My favorite part was dragging a dummy away while shooting targets with a pistol, which I had never done before.”

This competition was a new experience and a lot of fun outside of the normal day-to-day job, said Cpl. Nicholas Burgess, a radio operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 3.

“Coming out here and shooting weapons that we never touched before such as the pistols or shotguns was exciting,” said Burgess, a Boone, N.C., native “It was my first time being involved in a shooting competition and it took some time getting used to, but with help from my team, I was ready.”

Burgess said before he was with CLB-3, he was with the infantry battalion so he was already accustomed to similar training. This competition along with annual rifle qualification builds on the basics and fundamentals.

“The Marksmanship competition was challenging and is something the Marine Corps as a whole should really get into,” said Burgess. “This type of training is crucial because given the situation, anything could change. The Marine Corps may tell me or you to pick up a rifle, shotgun or pistol and go help someone or save a life. This competition is a good experience, but is an important form of training that will prepare you for the future.”