MARINE AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, California -- Marines with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment conducted a sniper marksmanship assessment that involved shooting at known and unknown distances aboard Marine Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, Oct. 24, 2015.
“The snipers fire unknown and known distances that range from 100-1000 meters,” said Cpl. Jonathan Padilla, a combat instructor with Tactical Training Exercise Control Group. “The Marines are being assessed on the marksmanship abilities and how effectively they can engage man-size targets.”
Marines from the unit utilized two different weapons systems during the sniper assessment. The first one was the M40A5 bolt-action sniper rifle, the second one was the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System.
“Their primary mission is to engage selected targets, said Staff Sgt. Gary Moll, a sniper instructor with TTECG. “They spend a lot of time refining fundamentals of marksmanship to improve their ability to shoot during an evaluation.”
Drills for the assessment included firing at different targets without a time limit while other drills evaluated how quickly and effectively the snipers could hit as many targets as possible within a thirty second time frame.
“The environment here is different,” said Moll. “On (Camp) Lejeune it’s the environment and the elevation. As a sniper, it’s mission essential that you collect data for your rifles in as many different locations as possible to increase your knowledge spectrum.”
The snipers worked the assessment in pairs of two. The shooter had an observer to guide him in the precise location of his target, upon completion of the first round the two switched places.
“At TTCEG we are prepared to coach and mentor the snipers, if they are new to the program we’ll help them along, if they are experienced we’ll continue to teach them more and more things,” Moll said. “Most of our training focuses on developing the sniper team executing battalion-level fire support.”