CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Blending in with tall dry grass and patches of greenery, the stalker was indistinguishable to the pair of binoculars that were searching for him. Cpl. Fouad Cherair’s movements were slow and steady as he loaded a magazine into his weapon and prepared to fire. Off to the right of the two Marines who were trying to detect Cherair, the unexpected shot hit its mark with precision.
Six Marines with 1st Marine Division, 7th Marine Regiment participated in stalking training aboard Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, May 27, 2015. The training was the last event during Division School’s 6-week-long Pre-Scout Sniper Course.
“This course prepares you for the Basic Sniper Course,” Said Cherair, an infantryman with 1/7. “You don’t want to send someone into the heat of the fire without any preparation for it because that will just lead to failure. This course is made to help you succeed in the follow-on training and career path in general.”
Students that attend the Pre-Scout Sniper Course learn the basic sniper skill set. During the course, they are taught land navigation, marksmanship, stalking and field skills.
“The biggest skill that I took away from this course was learning a lot about what humidity and the wind can do to your round when it goes down range,” said Cherair.
The overall goal of the course is to familiarize the students with the main aspects of sniper skills so that when they go to the Basic Sniper Course, they will continue to improve and hopefully pass the sniper school, said Sgt. Matthew Solowynsky, the chief instructor for Division School’s Pre-Scout Sniper Course.
“The importance of this course is to get these guys ready and into that mind set of how much work this job actually entails,” said Solowynsky. “They don’t realize that, even compared to a typical infantry job, this job takes twice as much work to be even good at, not great, just good.”
Students who attend the course are usually infantryman. However, occasionally, a radio operator or corpsman with a sniper platoon will attend in order to operate with the team and go out on patrols.
With the help of its dedicated instructors, the Pre-Scout Sniper Course will continue to equip its students with the necessary skills that they will need to pass their required training and succeed as certified snipers.