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Sniping 101: Rounds down range U.S., Indonesian Marine Snipers Practice Shot Accuracy

11 Mar 2008 | Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Hlavac

U.S. Marines with Scout Sniper Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, took to the bush to train with Indonesian Marines from the 1st and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalions by conducting a sniper rifle shoot here March 11.

 The live-fire exercise was conducted as a way to gauge the shooting accuracy of the Marines involved and built upon skills the Indonesian Marines had learned in a class given by the U.S. snipers the previous day. During the live fire, the U.S. Marines showed their Indonesian counterparts how to make wind calls, how to properly adjust the sights on a rifle and how to be a good spotter.

 The training was part of a bilateral field training exercise between the U.S. and the Republic of Indonesia that will run from March. 10-19. The purpose of the bilateral exercise is to increase interoperability, enhance military to military relationships and continue building strong regional partnerships between the two nations.

 The Marines first started the live fire by shooting at different targets with distances ranging from 150-600 yards. As the Marines became used to shooting at targets from a stationary position, the U.S. Marines decided to throw in a little extra training to keep their Indonesian counterparts on their toes, according to U.S. Marine Cpl. Michael Mentnzer, a team leader with the Scout Sniper Platoon.

 “At first we just did straight shooting at targets,” said Mentnzer. “After that, we upped the tempo by doing shooting drills commonly done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, such as having to hit a five-by-two-inch object located on the forehead of a target.”

 Mentnzer added, “We also had the Marines run a100 yards away from their rifle and then run back and shoot, which mimics a combat situation where a shooter’s heart might be racing and their blood pumping.”

 While shooting out in the hot sun for hours on end may not sound like much fun, the Marines’ morale was high and they enjoyed the shoot, according to Indonesian Marine Sgt. Hendra, a sniper with the Indonesian 2nd Reconnaissance Amphibious Battalion.

 “It was really great working with the U.S. Marines and learning some new shooting techniques,” Hendra said. “We have a long but good training schedule with the U.S. Marines that I really look forward to. All this training is definitely going to help me in any combat situation I might be in.”

 While the shoot itself is just one of many training events the two groups of Marines have planned, the training was an essential part of the U.S. Marines’ overall goal.

 “The overall goal of the training we have and will do with the Indonesian Recon Marines is to build their confidence and abilities and to build a solid working and personal relationship between our two groups of Marines.”

 With the 2/4 currently the Battalion Landing Team for the 31st MEU, bilateral training like this demonstrates the United States’ ongoing commitment to the security and stability of these nations and the entire South East Asia region.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit