Marines Hone Combat Marksmanship Skills

Marine Corps Cpl. Rene Gonzalez engages his target during a table three shoot at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 4, 2014. (Marine Corps photo)

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit here participated in a Combat Marksmanship Program table three shoot Sept. 4-5.

The Combat Marksmanship Program is designed to provide practical and realistic training for the combat environment Marines can encounter.

“Marines have to be ready to fight at any moment,” said Sgt. Brian Bishko, supply administrator, 15th MEU. “We always have to be ready; we always have to be trained and familiar with our weapons.”

Different shooting drills

During the training, the Marines conducted different types of drills to help them prepare for a fight. They practiced pivoting as well as shooting while moving toward targets ranging 5 to 25 yards away. While shooting, the Marines had to acquire and engage their target in an expedient matter.

Marines are required to perform the table one and table two shooting exercise annually, which consists of shooting from the sitting, kneeling, prone and standing positions at targets 200 to 500 yards away. They also practice shooting drills at static and moving targets. However, table three focuses more on a combat mindset.

“I think this is more practical training,” Bishko said. “There are not a lot of times you’re going to be engaging a target 500 yards away. Most of the time, Marines are going to be close-quarters, and that’s why we train this way.”

Being prepared

Marine Corps Cpl. Noah Pullin, a combat marksmanship coach and small-arms repairman with the 15th MEU explained the main purpose of the training is to get Marines familiar with their weapons and different types of engagements so if something happens, they are able to remember what they learned and apply it.

“A lot of people come out here and look a little timid,” Pullin said, “but by the end of the day they’re going back at it and they’re almost pros.”

Refreshing shooting skills

Since not all Marines are required to handle their weapons daily due to their individual jobs, this type of training gives them an opportunity to refresh their shooting skills.

“The biggest thing I got out of the training is just familiarizing myself with my weapon again; reevaluating my methods and my shooting posture,” Bishko said. “We always have to reevaluate ourselves, make our adjustments and see where we’re at.”

The marksmanship training has added significance for the 15th MEU, which will begin preparing to deploy next month. Once deployed, the members of the unit will need to be ready to respond to any situation, and maintaining these vital skills helps to ensure that readiness in an unpredictable and sometimes volatile world.

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