MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, to include the 12th Marine Corps District and Weapons Field Training Battalion, competed in the Depot Competition-In-Arms Program at Edson Range at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 29 through Feb. 12.
The DCIAP serves as the initial stage of identifying Marines and sailors with the essential skills and desire to become part of the MCRD Shooting Team. Marines who are selected to serve as part of the shooting team will represent the Depot at the upcoming Western Division Matches.
The DCIAP is composed of 10 days of intramural rifle and pistol marksmanship, both requiring slow and rapid fire from varying distances in the sitting, standing and prone positions.
“This is a service-weapon class competition where we fire at the 200-, the 300- and the 500-yard line with a slight variation in what you see in the annual rifle training,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Brickert, a Marine gunner and the range gunner for Charlie Range, WFTB. As a gunner, Brickert is a weapons specialist who is knowledgeable in the tactical employment of all weaponry in Marine Corps arsenals.
Marines from around the area are selected by their respective commands to compete in the DCIAP based on their marksmanship scores and eagerness to participate.
Marines are not only given ample practice time for the competition, but they are also taught the principles of intermediate-level shooting and how to become more proficient marksmen.
“There’s a high level of knowledge I’m learning on a daily basis here; there is nothing I can compare it to,” said Sgt. Jesus Orozco, the Enhanced Area Canvasing chief for the 12th MCD.
The only prerequisites the Marines must meet are to be rifle and pistol qualified. Marines of all shooting backgrounds from experienced to beginner are encouraged to take part in the competition.
“What we try to do for all of the Depot Marines is to continue improving their marksmanship to an advanced degree,” said Brickert. “When Marines show up, we don’t put restrictions on them needing a certain level of experience prior to getting here. We’ll take marksmen at any level and re-teach them fundamentals and advanced skills to conduct bull’s-eye-level of marksmanship.”
Marines are instructed throughout the week by range coaches and those who are a part of the MCRD shooting team.
“With the level of marksmanship I learned, I can take it back to my younger Marines, and it will just build their self-confidence so they can tackle the range more confidently,” said Orozco.
The final day of the competition the Marines divide into four-man teams from their respective units for a more tactical course of fire, known as the “Gunner’s Match.”
The Marines run a total of 575 yards, stopping at varied distances using both the M16 service rifle and the M9 service pistol while wearing a partial combat load.
“The whole course takes about 10 minutes, but it definitely applies stress-related shooting and it gets your heart rate up,” said Brickert.
The competition came to a close with an award ceremony to honor the Marine who had the highest individual score for the rifle competition and the Marine with the highest individual score for the pistol competition. The team with the highest combined score overall was also awarded a trophy. The winning team of the prestigious Gunner’s Match was recognized at the ceremony as well.