View Full Version : Marines of A Company tred straight, narrow

06-19-05, 07:08 AM
Marines of A Company tred straight, narrow

Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification #: 2005616104619
Story by Lance Cpl. Stephen Holt

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (June 16, 2005) -- In World War II, Hitler perfected the Blitzkrieg, or lightning war. But by today's standards, Hitler's march across Europe seems slow.

Case in point, the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom when 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, pushed 1,000 miles into Iraq in only 21 days.

When combat moves so quickly, Marines can't be fumbling with their weapons or pausing to recall warfare tactics.

So, as the speed of warfare increases, training and tactics must keep up. Marines with Company A are among those trying to stay current -- and fluid -- with their marksmanship skills, under the discerning eyes of instructors at the School of Infantry.

"Combat marksmanship is extremely important," said Staff Sgt. David Perez Jr., SOI's Military Operations in Urban Terrain section chief, whose trainers recently put Company A's recent boot camp graduates through the paces. They imparted "practical skills," Perez said, like troubleshooting and correcting weapons malfunctions on the fly; engaging mock human targets positioned 50 to 75 yards away; and shooting on the move.

Most of the students recently qualified on Edson Range with their M16A2 rifles. But here, the firing range is different conjuring a more vivid sense of "human threats," Perez said.

"We don't just have them shoot at silhouette targets," Perez said. "We actually dress them up and put pictures of human faces on those targets, to get them out of the mind-set of just shooting at paper."

Ready minds and muscles mean ready triggers, Perez explained. Put another way, Marines' weapons must become "an extension of their body," Perez said.

"Some of them are still cumbersome when dealing with their individual rifles," he said. "We give them enough confidence so they can clear out any type of malfunction and engage treats at various distances."

While grooming Company A's shooting skills, trainers also worked to transform reserve artillerymen from Alabama into an anti-terrorism force.

Cpl. Roy A. Foster, a reservist with Battery L, 4th Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, based in Bessemer, Ala., is a police officer back home.

The training is similar to police marksmanship curricula

-- "except back home there are less targets," said Roy, who deployed to Iraq with the 1st Marine Division in January 2004. Roy praised trainers for imparting "extremely useful" techniques.

"The instructors lead by example. I really respect them. They tell you how and why something works, with examples of when it works," Roy said.

"Everything we teach here is applicable in combat situations," Perez said.

Marines will pass the course if they score 400 -- with 500 a perfect score. They'll have expanded their skill-set to include unknown distance firing, a discipline covered only briefly in boot camp.

Company A is slated to graduate this week.