MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California -- Blending in with tall dry grass and patches of greenery, the stalker
was indistinguishable to the pair of binoculars that were searching for
him. Cpl. Fouad Cherair’s movements were slow and steady as he loaded a
magazine into his weapon and prepared to fire. Off to the right of the
two Marines who were trying to detect Cherair, the unexpected shot hit
its mark with precision.
Six Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
participated in stalking training aboard Marine Corps Base, Camp
Pendleton, California, May 27, 2015. The training was the last event
during Division Schools' 6-week-long Pre-Scout Sniper Course.
“This course prepares you for the Basic Sniper Course,” said Cherair, a
rifelman with 1/7. “You don’t want to send someone into the heat of the
fire without any preparation for it because that will just lead to
failure. This course is made to help you succeed in the follow-on
training and career path in general.”
Students that attend the Pre-Scout Sniper Course are introduced to the
basic sniper skill set. During the course, they are taught land
navigation, marksmanship, stalking and field skills.
“The biggest skill that I took away from this course was learning a lot
about what humidity and the wind can do to your round when it goes down
range,” said Cherair.
The overall goal of the course is to familiarize the students with the
main aspects of sniper skills so that when they go to the Basic Sniper
Course, they will continue to improve and pass the sniper school, said
Sgt. Matthew Solowynsky, the chief instructor for Division School’s
Pre-Scout Sniper Course.
“The importance of this course is to get these guys ready and into that
mind set of how much work this job actually entails,” said Solowynsky.
“They don’t realize that, even compared to a typical infantry job, this
job takes twice as much work to be good at.”
Students who attend the course are usually infantryman. However,
occasionally, a radio operator or Navy Hospital corpsman with a sniper
platoon will attend in order to operate with the team.
With the help of its instructors, the Pre-Scout Sniper Course will
continue to equip its students with the necessary skills that they will
need to pass their required training and succeed as certified snipers.