MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
A Marine sniper and observer can pinpoint a target and silently eliminate an enemy threat with uncanny precision from more than 1,000 yards away.
Preparing a sniper team to make difficult shots in combat requires thousands of rehearsal shots at the firing range.
To train for an upcoming deployment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, scout snipers with reconnaissance platoon, Force Reconnaissance and Scout Sniper Platoon, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, fired an assortment of sniper rifles in the field, March 14-16, 2011.
The scout sniper platoon commander said each weapon in the sniper arsenal has a detailed record to ensure the rifles and riflemen remain in concert.
“You become one with the rifle,” he said.
The Marines fired the weapons to enhance proficiency and collect pertinent data on each rifle.
A battle-sight zero, or sight calibration, was completed early in training to unite each rifle and sniper. Before firing on targets from numerous distances, the Marines received a weather report detailing temperature, barometric pressure and wind conditions. The Marines used the information to adjust their rifles. The observers used a mounted scope separate from the rifle to view the targets and guide the sniper during the course of each shot. The Marines also trained in darkness using night optics.
“Our primary mission is to use precision fire to reduce selective targets from a concealed position,” the platoon commander explained.
The sniper platoon commander said the observer is typically the senior man who guides the junior sniper from personal experience. The observer locates the target, recommends sight adjustments and gives the final order to fire.
The Marines have only one opportunity to eliminate the enemy in a combat situation before giving away their position. Therefore, every practice shot for the sniper and observer counts while at the firing range.
It’s important the Marines practice everything here before going forward to support Marines on the battlefield, the platoon commander added.
“It takes a lot for that one shot,” he said. “It’s important we maintain that legacy.”
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and will continue to train and test the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its Command Element.