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Marines Sight-In Aboard USS Rushmore

ABOARD USS RUSHMORE  — The pang of M16 and M4 rifles echoed across the ocean as paper targets where filled with shot holes. It was obvious that the Marines were doing work on the flight deck.

During the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group’s Western Pacific deployment, Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 15 decided to let loose a few rounds in order to find their battle sight zero and ensure their M16A4 and M4A1 service rifles were functioning properly, Sept. 27.

Battle sight zero, or BZO, is when a rifle’s optics is calibrated to aim dead-on at a certain range and a personal shooter’s profile. To find their BZO, servicemembers fire at targets 30 yards away lying in the prone position. The distance is the equivalent to shooting 300 yards away from a target with regards to bullet drop and the prone position is the most stable of the fundamental marksmanship stances, allowing less room for human-error.

“When Marines find their BZOs they are manipulating sights on weapons and using their marksmanship fundamentals to shoot on point,” said Master Sgt. Jason C. Topp, operations chief, CLB-15, 15th MEU. “This is an opportunity for Marines to prepare their weapon so it fits their profile,” added the 41 year-old Marblehead, Mass. native.

The marksmanship fundamentals, are taught to Marines in boot camp and include maintaining sight picture and alignment, trigger control, steady breathing and maintaining stock weld and eye relief, but above all, having a zeroed-in weapon.

“It’s important to BZO our weapons. So when you are firing in on your target, your sights are aligned,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Ivey, administration chief, CLB-15, 15th MEU. “I’m glad I was able to fire my weapon and make adjustments. Any time I get the chance to fire my rifle is a good time,” added the 34 year-old Chicago native.

The Marines also used the time to provide sailors the opportunity to come out and fire a few rounds. The sailors were taught basic marksmanship techniques and were given guidance as they aimed down-range.

“To establish a blue-green mentality we invited the sailors on board to come and shoot and teach them the basic marksmanship principles,” added Topp.

With barrels hot, sights securely adjusted and chambers cleared, the Marines and sailors stepped back from the firing line with targets in hand. Their shots were tight, all dead in the center, meaning a calibrated weapon was ready when the time comes.

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