USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea -- The calm ambience of the Pacific Ocean was shattered by the ringing of rifle fire as Marines engaged multiple targets off the port side of the ship. In such a close proximity, accuracy proved vital to the Marines’ success.
Marines and Sailors of Company G. and Scout Sniper Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted modified close combat marksmanship training from the port elevator here, Oct. 1.
From distances of 20, 15, 10 and 5 yards, the Marines engaged multiple targets with M16A4 and M4 service rifles to maintain their skills in recoil management, weapons manipulation, speed reloads, and team communication.
“It’s important to maintain familiarity with our weapons systems and the quick employment of them,” said 1st Lt. Sam Long, 25-year-old executive officer for Company G., BLT 2/1, 31st MEU, and native of Houston, Texas. “It’s an extremely perishable skill, like shooting free throws, you have to practice to be good.”
The results of the training demonstrated the unit’s commitment to maintaining their skills, as every Marine scored in the 90th percentile in accuracy, according to Staff Sgt. Bryan J. Robbins, 30-year-old platoon sergeant for Company G., BLT 2/1, 31st MEU.
Each Marine fired 80 rounds, aiming for a 10 inch circle on the chest of the target and a 2 inch by 4 inch box on the head of the target. Sixty-six rounds within those limits are required for a score of 90 or higher.
“It was a bit of a challenge with the ship moving up and down because it can affect your shot,” said Lance Cpl. Leodan Hernandez, a 19-year-old rifleman with Company G., BLT 2/1, 31st MEU, and a native of Jersey City, N.J. “But all of the things our instructors taught us, like proper stances and weapon holds, help us compensate and remain accurate.”
The challenging but successful training offered the Marines and Sailors a welcome break from life within the hulls of a ship. Training to maintain infantry skills is a continuous endeavor for the Marines of 2/1.
“The Marines enjoyed the opportunity to get out, get some sunlight and shoot off the side of the ship,” said Robbins, a native of Dening, N.M.
The 31st MEU recently completed a two-week certification exercise in Guam, and is now underway to continue its scheduled deployment. The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness for the Asia-Pacific and the only continuously forward deployed MEU.